ARLINGTON, Texas — Luis Robert walked to home plate in the first inning Thursday against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field, took a practice swing and then stepped into the batter’s box.
Robert stepped out momentarily, took another knock, then went back in and went to work.
Thursday marked Robert’s return to the Chicago White Sox lineup for the first time in nearly three weeks. And immediately he singled off Cole Ragans.
Robert last played on July 15., leaving after the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field with dizziness. he left in the blurred vision injured list. The Sox reinstated him on Tuesday. After sitting out for two days, Robert was the designated hitter on Thursday.
Robert described what set him aside, saying through an interpreter: “From the first day of Minnesota (July 14), there were some things with my vision. Just a bunch of stuff.
Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday of Robert: “Fundamentally, I think he was suffering from the effects of a virus, probably not a very satisfying way of putting it. But the reality is that he had a couple of vitamin deficiencies that we’ve been able to address that have been linked to the cause of his symptoms and thankfully those symptoms have resolved.
“As you can imagine, based on those symptoms, we put him through an extraordinary amount of testing, through which we were able to rule out a lot of bad things, which was obviously a huge relief to everyone. And at this point, it seems pretty clear that he was suffering from the ill effects of a virus that was perhaps causing his deficiencies and causing his symptoms.”
Robert said “it felt weird”.
“Now I’m better, I’m fine,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes (Friday) when I’m in center field. That will be the challenge, that will be the test.”
When Robert went on the disabled list, Hahn said he was affected more in the field than at the plate. His return on Thursday gave the Sox their most complete lineup of the season.
“I’m very happy to be back and happy to finally have our lineup,” said Robert. “It’s going to be fun for us.”
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Shortstop Tim Anderson, left fielder Eloy Jiménez, third baseman Yoán Moncada and catcher Yasmani Grandal were among the players who missed time due to injury. Those four, along with Robert and first baseman Jose Abreu, were core members of the 2020 team that made it to the postseason. And they were all in the lineup on Thursday.
“We are all together,” Abreu said Thursday through an interpreter. “We’re united. And with Robert playing, it’s the first time we’re all going to actually play at the same time (this season). That’s how it was supposed to be since spring training.
“Just a great, great feeling. Knowing that the team is complete, that everyone is where they need to be, is good. It is something that makes you feel good. The past is in the past, and now we have to keep… moving forward.”
Abreu has been on a hot streak, slashing .367/.414/.561 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 23 RBIs in his last 35 games before Thursday. Jiménez had at least one hit in his last nine games.
“I’ve always seen what they do, how they do their business,” Robert said of Abreu and Jimenez. “It’s good. I’m happy with the success they’re having at the moment, enjoying the moment. It’s definitely a good thing for everyone.”
Robert sought to pick up where he left off before the trip to IL. He entered Thursday batting .301/.334/.461 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 54 RBIs, 48 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 74 games.
“Getting Luis back, when he left he was one of the best hitters in baseball,” Red Sox manager Tony La Russa said before the game.
La Russa said the plan was to rest Robert on Saturday, have him in the lineup on Sunday and in one of Tuesday’s doubleheader games against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
“It’s a clever way to break his legs,” La Russa said. “Hopefully it gets on a lot.”
Robert was ready to contribute again in any way.
“I will be good with whatever plan they decide for me,” Robert said. “If that’s the plan they want me to follow, I’m fine with that.”