White Sox’s Robert could miss rest of year with hip injury

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Luis Robert

Chicago White Sox’s Luis Robert hits a single on a ground ball to Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, May 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — Luis Robert couldn’t put any weight on his right leg as he was helped off the field Sunday. A day later, the news was no less painful for the White Sox or their promising young center fielder.

Robert could miss the remainder of the season after a scan Monday showed he has a torn right hip flexor, another major blow for a team eyeing a deep playoff run.

General manager Rick Hahn said their will be more consultations with specialists in the next few days to determine whether Robert needs surgery.

Either way, Hahn said Robert won’t resume baseball activities for three to four months at least. It’s not clear if he will play again this year.

“It hasn’t been ruled out,” Hahn said. “It just all depends on the healing timeframe here. And unfortunately, none of us are smart enough to know exactly how his body will respond to whatever’s next. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The White Sox were already without slugging outfielder Eloy Jiménez, who is expected to miss most of the season after rupturing his left pectoral tendon in spring training.

Robert was injured in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland. He fell to the ground after beating out an infield single to third base in the first inning and was helped off the field while putting no weight on his right leg.

Second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and a Gold Glove winner last season, Robert is batting .316 with one homer and 11 RBIs.

The White Sox are second in the AL Central behind Kansas City at 15-12. Chicago ended a string of seven losing seasons last year and made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“The challenges have perhaps become greater, but the goals remain the same,” Hahn said. “We look forward as a group — by that, I mean those in the clubhouse and those in the front office — trying to find the best way to navigate through this.”

Hahn said he expects the White Sox to go with Leury Garcia and Billy Hamilton in center field for now. But he hasn’t ruling out looking for outside help.

“It’s disappointing,” Hahn said. “There’s no sugarcoating that. It’s a blow. In some ways, we’ve been here. We were here four, five weeks ago when Eloy went down. That clubhouse is strong and cohesive and motivated and focused. And I suspect as disappointed as they all are going to be to hear the news, as I was today, that in due course the focus is going to return to winning ballgames.”

The White Sox have been on a roll lately, winning seven of nine prior to Sunday’s loss. They ranked third in the majors in batting average and sixth in runs.

Rookie sensation Yermín Mercedes is making the most of his opportunity with Jiménez sidelined. He entered Monday third in the AL with a .395 average and has five home runs and 16 RBIs, serving mainly as the team’s designated hitter.

“It’s a matter of viewing this as a bit of a challenge, as an opportunity for those who are going to get more play time and a chance for staff members to get more creative both in the clubhouse and in the front office,” Hahn said. “If this was easy, we’d just sit back and enjoy the ballgames. And that’s just not the nature of these gigs.”

Hahn said outfielder Adam Engel is progressing after experiencing a setback in his recovery from a strained hamstring in spring training. He is about three weeks away from a rehab assignment.

Pitcher Reynaldo López had surgery Sunday on both corneas after experiencing blurred vision and will begin the minor league season on the injured list.

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