Just when the White Sox’ offense was showing signs of life, it lost one of its top performers. In losing center fielder Luis Robert to the COVID-19-related injured list Tuesday, the Sox also lost their best defensive player.
Robert has symptoms, general manager Rick Hahn said, and likely will be out for the Red Sox series and the two games against the Cubs on Saturday and Sunday.
Manager Tony La Russa joked that he wanted to jump in Lake Michigan when he heard the news.
“He’s so much fun to watch if you’re a baseball fan, and I am,” La Russa said. “I really hope for us and our fans it’s the quick one, and we get him back in five or six days.”
Infielder Jake Burger was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. Adam Engel started in center field against the Red Sox. AJ Pollock and Leury Garcia also can play center.
One of the Sox’ most productive hitters, Robert recently assumed the No. 3 spot in La Russa’s lineup. He is batting .285/.319/.438 with a team-high six home runs, three doubles, 17 RBI and 21 runs scored in 33 games.
Robert is second on the team in hits, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases and total bases.
Rehab stints for Lynn, Jimenez
Right-hander Lance Lynn faced live hitters, including Eloy Jimenez, Engel and Gavin Sheets, before the game and is pegged to make a start at Charlotte, probably Sunday on four days of rest, as he gets closer to joining the team. Lynn is eligible to come off the injured list June 4 after having knee surgery.
“Lynn will make a rehab start for Charlotte hopefully by the end of the weekend, and Eloy will likely join that club shortly before that,” Hahn said.
Bullish on Cueto
As you’d expect, veteran Johnny Cueto’s two scoreless six-inning starts have Hahn, who signed him to a minor-league deal, walking on air.
“Any fan that wants to join in and join the Johnny Cueto bandwagon or stereo ambulance, climb on board,” Hahn said. “He’s been sensational. It’s been fun to watch him pitch, the way he disrupts timing, the way he shows different arm angles. The whole thing is entertaining, not just because of the zeros but because of the show he puts on each start.”
Cueto, 36, bought an ambulance from former pitcher Octavio Dotel and spruced it up with a wall of 22 speakers on the back.
Michael Kopech’s 1.29 ERA is second in the majors behind Justin Verlander’s 1.22. Kopech has 42 innings logged over eight starts in his first season as a starter, a total Hahn has said will be watched closely as the season progresses.
“The notion of an innings limit has always been soft,” Hahn said. “And by ‘soft,’ I mean it can go up or down.
‘‘We entered the year with an expectation of generally where we would like him to finish. But over the course of the year, we have to adjust based on what we’re seeing with our eyes, how the ball’s coming out of his hand, what the metrics are showing us, mechanically [if] there are any issues and what he’s reporting.’’