White Sox outfielder Luis Robert heading to IL with hip injury

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Vinnie Duber
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Robert 'definitely' heading to IL with hip flexor strain originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox will be without two of their brightest stars for some time.

The severity of Luis Robert's hip flexor strain, which forced him out of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Indians, is still unknown. But White Sox manager Tony La Russa said after the 5-0 defeat that Robert will be heading to the injured list, setting up, even in the best case, a scenario in which Robert and Eloy Jiménez are simultaneously on the shelf.

Jiménez ruptured his pectoral tendon late in spring training, punching a sizable hole in the middle of the White Sox lineup. Now another core player will be sidelined, and without those two uber-talented bats, it's what might have been described as a doomsday scenario just a couple months ago.

RELATED: Sox lessons: 6 things we learned about title hopes in April

Not surprisingly, La Russa is pledging a mentality of pressing onward, suggesting the White Sox have the depth to make up for Robert's absence, which comes at the same time as Jiménez's absence, which comes at the same time as Adam Engel's absence.

"That's part of what you're going to go through," La Russa said. "All the clubs go through it. It's the same thing like with Eloy, it's the same message. ... We'll have somebody playing that position and step up, and you've just got to deal with it. We're deep enough to cover.

"Adversity's always going to be part of the season. It's hit us hard in the outfield. But you can't give in. Never give in, never give up. It's just a state of mind. Our minds will be strong."

The White Sox offense still ranks among the most productive in the American League, even after getting blanked by Zach Plesac and the Cleveland bullpen on Sunday. Robert's been a reason why, with a .309/.353/.457 slash line and nine doubles coming into Sunday's game. A bounce-back season for him, after spending the second month of his abbreviated rookie campaign in a woeful slump, figured to help the White Sox chase their World Series goals.

La Russa mentioned that he doesn't expect Robert's injury rehabilitation to be to the extent of Jiménez's, the left fielder still having the potential to miss the entire season, an extreme case. But certainly White Sox fans were holding their breath when Robert attempted to walk off the field Sunday, unable to put any weight on his right leg and requiring assistance to make it from first base back to the clubhouse.

The emergence of Yermín Mercedes has helped the White Sox make up for Jiménez's absence, even with key pieces of the lineup like José Abreu and Yasmani Grandal off to slow starts. But losing another impact bat will undoubtedly test things, likely to lead to more appearances by Leury García and Billy Hamilton. La Russa cited Luis González as part of the replacement mix, too, and he's expected to be called up from Schaumburg.

But again the spotlight will shine on the likes of Abreu, Grandal, Yoán Moncada, Adam Eaton and Tim Anderson — the core players who are still healthy — to produce enough for not just a lineup without Jiménez, but one without Robert, as well.

La Russa's explained that several of his hitters spent large swaths of April trying to do too much at the plate. Avoiding such a thing will now be paramount.

"We've already had experience," La Russa said, pointing to a month spent without Jiménez in the lineup. "You just contribute. ... We are deep. Guys just have to understand do the best you can.

"You can't do more. More usually is less."

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