White Sox lose game to Indians, Luis Robert to hip injury

Initial X-rays were negative and the Sox said he will undergo further evaluation Monday, but Robert appears headed for the injured list.

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Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox

Luis Robert is helped off the field after he injured his hip Sunday.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

White Sox manager Tony La Russa summed up the game Sunday as a ‘‘lousy, tough afternoon.’’

The Sox were already down one young outfielder, and they are going to be short another for a while.

In the first inning of the Sox’ 5-0 loss Sunday to the Indians, center fielder Luis Robert legged out a single but strained the flexor in his right hip in the process. Initial X-rays were negative and the team said he will undergo further evaluation Monday, but he appears headed for the injured list.

In spring training, left fielder Eloy Jimenez tore his pectoral muscle while trying to rob a home run and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season. Now, depending on the severity of Robert’s injury, the Sox could be without him for several weeks.

‘‘That’s what you go through,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘Adversity is always going to be part of the season. It’s hit us hard in the outfield.’’

Adam Eaton pinch-ran for Robert and took his place in the outfield. But the Sox’ offense missed Robert’s spark, mustering only four hits and striking out 11 times.

Right-hander Lucas Giolito worked around a solo homer by Cesar Hernandez in the third and an error that allowed a run to score in the fourth to hold the Indians to two runs. He allowed five hits and struck out eight in 5⅓ innings.

‘‘Yeah, it sucks,’’ Giolito said of Robert’s injury. ‘‘That’s a guy we need. I’m just hoping that he can bounce back pretty quick.

‘‘I don’t know much about hip flexors, but that’s a tough one. We’re kind of plagued by injury this year with some of our key guys. Hopefully he can get it right quick and be back helping us out.’’

Giolito said he thought his command was spotty early on, but he got better as the game went along.

‘‘Especially with the changeup, started to finish it better and get the results I’m looking for with it,’’ he said. ‘‘Overall, kind of a grinder.’’

After that, the Sox’ bullpen struggles continued. Reliever Codi Heuer allowed three runs in the seventh, yielding a two-run homer to Jose Ramirez and an RBI single to Amed Rosario.

Robert has been a spark for the Sox offensively and defensively. He wowed with a catch at the wall in deep center Friday and ran down a line drive Saturday like a wide receiver. At the plate, he is hitting .316 and went 4-for-9 in the series.

The depth of the outfield will be tested while Robert is out. Along with Jimenez, Adam Engel has been on the IL since March 21 with a strained right hamstring, and he has no clear timetable for a return.

‘‘That’s a part of what you’re going to go through,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘All the clubs go through it. We’ll have somebody play in that position and step up, and you’ve just got to deal with it. We’re deep enough to cover.’’

After the game, La Russa said outfielder Luis Gonzalez might be an option to take Robert’s place on the active roster. He was recalled from their alternate site in Schaumburg on Tuesday and made an appearance Thursday against the Tigers before being optioned back to Schaumburg on Saturday.

The Sox are .500 (4-4) against the American League Central rival Indians, something the players recognize needs to improve.

‘‘Any games in the division are hugely important,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘Early, late, doesn’t matter. We have to try and tack on wins and win series. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that today, but we’ll have more chances.’’

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