White Sox’ Luis Robert continues to impress: “What a weapon for us’




White Sox center fielder Luis Robert said he’s still tentative, three months removed from his hip injury.

No one would know it.

“Some day when I have the chance I’ll ask him about when he started playing, some people say it’s instinctive,” said manager Tony La Russa, marveling at the way Robert ran down fly balls in the gaps in the White Sox’ 10-7 victory over the Royals Saturday. “But there’s nothing instinctive, he must have at an early age shagged a lot of balls. He has the speed and the long strides. Some of the balls I know are in the gap, he’s picking them. What a weapon for us.”

Robert, though, said it’s more natural talent than learned.

“The ability that God has given me, that’s why I’m able to do all that,” he said. “And even now, even though I’m a little limited with my mobility because of the injury, I’m still able to make all those plays.”

Limited?

“Just a little bit,” he said. “There are days that I don’t feel that good, or I don’t feel that sure. During those days, I just prefer to slow down a little bit, just in case.”

The only thing that slowed Robert down was an injury suffered on May 2, when he went down with a right hip flexor strain. He returned on Aug. 9 and has looked maybe even better in center field than he did last season when he won a Gold Glove as a rookie.

“My mindset is always, they’re going to hit the ball at me, and I have to be ready,” Robert said. “That’s probably the only setup that I have.”

He’s also hitting better, showing more discipline at the plate and chasing fewer pitches out of the strike zone.

“Since he’s come back, he’s just had overall excellent plate and strike zone discipline,” La Russa said. “When he gets his barrel on the ball in a strike zone, the ball comes off and it could be a long home run or he flips a single here.

“When he swings at balls in the strike zone a lot of potential damage.”

Such as the 452-foot homer he hit in the first inning against lefty Daniel Lynch in the Sox’ 10-7 victory Saturday. It was Robert’s seventh homer and the first of four hits that raised his average to .343.

“I just go out there and do my best every day,” Robert said. “I always try to do better than yesterday. And tomorrow I’m going to try to do better than I did today.

“It is not that I’ve been more patient. The difference is that I have a better strike zone. I have a better understanding of the strike zone. That has been the difference.”







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