Luis Robert Jr.’s All-Star experience ‘exceeded expectations,’ the Chicago White Sox center fielder says

15 July 2023

Luis Robert Jr. didn’t participate in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday, sitting out as a precaution after feeling tightness in his right calf during the Home Run Derby the previous night.

It didn’t damper the first All-Star experience for the Chicago White Sox center fielder.

“It exceeded all my expectations,” Robert said through an interpreter Friday.

Robert reflected on the trip to Seattle and looked ahead to the rest of the season before the Sox resumed their season against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.

His favorite part of the event — taking part in the derby.

“Having the opportunity to spend a special time with my countrymen (Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena and Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis García),” Robert said. “To me it was like being in Cuba with them. Just sharing stories and having a great time together.”

Robert lost to Arozarena in the semifinals. He advanced out of the first round, topping Adley Rutschman. The Baltimore Orioles catcher hit 21 homers from the left side and six more from the right.

“I didn’t see his whole round and I think it helped me because I wasn’t thinking about,” Robert said. “After, I saw he hit (six) homers from the right side. That was impressive.”

Robert felt the calf tightness during the first round. He didn’t think it affected his second-round performance.

“I was feeling it but it wasn’t something big and the adrenaline kept me going,” Robert said. “But it wasn’t anything like I can blame that for in the second round.”

Robert got an MRI in Seattle and said he’s 100%. He was in the lineup Friday, batting third.

“It could be because I didn’t have a good warmup or enough time to warm up,” Robert said. “It was just tightness, a little tightness in there.”

He would consider taking part in the derby again.

“I would love to but I would say first we’re going to be the competitors there,” Robert said. “If there are other Cubans like this time, yes, I would probably say yes.”

Robert took missing the All-Star Game in perspective.

“It would have been good to have a chance to play in that game,” he said. “But health is first and my commitment to this team is first. Hopefully I will have many more chance to play in the All-Star Game and I would enjoy that.”

Robert is concentrated on carrying over his success from before the break. He slashed .271/.330/.569 with 26 homers and 51 RBIs in 89 games. Robert is second in the American League in home runs and third with a .899 OPS.

“I am as ready as I was going to be in the first half,” Robert said. “Just trying to go out there, do my best and help this team win games.”

Yoán Moncada begins rehab assignment

The third baseman began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. He went on the injured list June 14 with lower back inflammation.

“Looking forward to seeing how he’s doing, how he feels” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “Looking forward to having him back.”

Grifol said the Sox “don’t want to rush the process” and want to see how the switch-hitter performs swinging from both sides of the plate.

Before Friday’s game, the Sox reinstated starter Michael Kopech from the IL. He went on the IL June 29 with right shoulder inflammation.

Kopech was the starting pitcher for the series opener against the Braves and had a tough beginning, allowing a grand slam in the first. He lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing four runs on one hit. He walked four and hit a batter in the 38-pitch outing.

Lance Lynn is slated to start Saturday and Dylan Cease on Sunday.

Starter Mike Clevinger, who went on the IL on June 15 with right biceps inflammation, will throw a bullpen session this weekend. Clevinger said he is “getting there.”

“He clears that hurdle, we go to the next one,” Grifol said. “He’s moving along nicely. But we can’t run before we crawl.”


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