CLEVELAND — As if getting swept by the Guardians wasn’t bad enough, and doing so in unsightly fashion at that, the White Sox capped four forgettable days in Ohio enduring yet another injury, this one to prized center fielder Luis Robert.
Robert left a 6-3 loss to the Guardians on Thursday afternoon with a strained right groin suffered while running out a grounder in the eighth inning.
Manager Tony La Russa said Robert could land on the injured list, which seems more than likely.
“He’s got a little minor groin strain,” La Russa said. “Might mean some IL time. But [trainer James] Kruk said it’s something that should heal quickly.”
In any event, the Sox won’t push Robert back to action in April. He said it was too soon to know when he’d be in the lineup again.
“Not tomorrow,” Robert said, stating the obvious.
The injury occurred on a day Robert snapped an 0-for-21 slump by lining a 400-foot double off the top of the big Progressive Field left-center-field wall in the fourth inning and singling in the sixth. He was caught stealing after the base hit.
“I was feeling more comfortable at home plate, and now this thing happened,” Robert said. “There’s still plenty of season to go.”
The Guardians (7-5) completed a three-game sweep of the Sox (6-6), who have lost four straight. It was a poorly played series by a team with World Series aspirations that was almost no match for the Guardians, whom no one is picking to win the American League Central.
“We were a lot more ourselves today; we played better,” La Russa said. “But they outplayed us the whole series.”
The Sox went with their best healthy starter, Dylan Cease, in hopes of avoiding the sweep, but Cease, in his own words, was “just all right,” allowing four runs in 5„ innings. Franmil Reyes homered to put the Sox in a 2-0 hole. Two Guardians errors in the seventh gifted the Sox with two runs that cut the deficit to 4-3, but the Guardians responded with two runs against Kendall Graveman, who had been the Sox’ best reliever this season, in the bottom of the seventh.
The Sox made four infield errors in an 11-1 loss Wednesday. They had eight hits Thursday and five outs on balls hit harder than 102 mph, including one lineout by Gavin Sheets.
“Hitting is very contagious, good and bad,” Sheets said. “Had some really hard outs, but that’s baseball. It’s early, and I think we’ll get things going soon.”
Waiting in Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday through two postponed games “obviously got us out of whack a little bit,” Sheets said. “We struggled, but it’s important we go out and take care of this Minnesota series [this weekend]. Flip the script, come back on the homestand and get things going again.”
The Sox have been flipped heads over heels by injuries, and Robert is just the latest. Pitchers Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Garrett Crochet, Joe Kelly and Ryan Burr and position players Yoan Moncada and AJ Pollock are on the IL. Josh Harrison and Eloy Jimenez have avoided the IL but missed games.
Pollock (hamstring), an outfielder, is expected to rejoin the team Friday in Minneapolis. Giolito is expected to pitch Sunday after missing two starts.
“No matter what, our focus has to be what is next and trying to keep moving forward,” Robert said. “It’s difficult. We have some teammates down, but we have to keep pushing. There’s no other way around it.”