White Sox’ Luis Robert doubtful for rest of Twins series

MINNEAPOLIS — Luis Robert was still experiencing lightheadedness and was doubtful for the last two games of the White Sox series against the Twins, manager Tony La Russa said Saturday.

The Sox’ hottest hitter of late, Robert was replaced in his customary No. 3 spot in the lineup by designated hitter Andrew Vaughn as the Sox looked for their fifth straight win and third in a row in a four-game series against the AL Central leading Twins.

The cause remained unknown. Robert was uniform but manager Tony La Russa didn’t think he would play.

“He’s still not feeling right,” La Russa said.

“They’ve done some preliminary [tests] but wait until Monday to really take a really good look at him,” La Russa said.

The All-Star break is Monday through Thursday.

The hope is Eloy Jimenez (right leg soreness) will be available after the break, although La Russa wasn’t ruling him out as a pinch hitter.

La Russa said general manager Rick Hahn and training staff considered a 10-day injured list stint for Jimenez “and decided to get through this series. And I agree. We can get through it.”

Robert’s defense

Luis Robert’s fielding has been noticeably off this season, and defensive metrics show what eyes have seen. Robert won a Gold Glove his rookie season in 2020 with eight defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs, and was at four in 2021. Robert is minus-4 this season.

Coach Daryl Boston, who works with the outfielders, attributes Robert’s performance to his legs being at less than 100 percent.

“There have been some balls that in the past he was able to get to but he’s coming off some leg issues and, maybe some tough skies,” Boston said. “A lot of it has to do with his legs. He’s not running as much on the bases because of his legs. To bust at full speed, some balls [have fallen] in front of him.”

Robert has 11 stolen bases but is 0-for-1 since June 12.

A ball skipped past him for an error in the first inning Friday and Robert didn’t get a great read on a deep fly ball that was caught before he exited the game, but he may have been affected by what forced him to leave the game. Robert was on the COVID IL during the last week of May but has played almost every day since.

“He’s still an elite defender for us,” Boston said. “The level of expectation for him is probably unfair because of what we’ve become accustomed to.”

The draft is Sunday

The White Sox have the 26th pick in the draft Sunday, their lowest first pick since they selected pitcher Kyle McCulloch in 2006, the year after they won the World Series.

They like what they’ve done with their last three top picks — shortstop Colson Montgomery (22nd in 2021), left-hander Garrett Crochet (11th in 2020) and Andrew Vaughn (third in 2019), but nailing this one won’t be as easy.

“The process has changed significantly with this draft because in all my years of doing this when you get outside of pick eight or nine, you have no idea what’s going to happen,” Sox scouting director Mike Shirley said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had to work on so many players who possibly could be there at 26.”

Which has left the scouting department “a little exhausted because the amount of work they’ve had to put in to get to 26.”

Shirley, in his third year in his role as the department’s director. said the strength of the class is with college position players as a whole, at the top especially. The Sox’ pick will be a combination of need and best player.

Various mock drafts have the Sox taking high school left-hander Robbie Snelling, Oregon State lefty Cooper Hjerpe, East Carolina lefty Carson Whisenhunt, Arizona catcher Daniel Susac and an assortment of high school infielders.

The Draft begins at 6 p.m. CST (ESPN, MLB Network). Rounds 2-10 are Monday (1 p.m. CST, MLB.com) and 11-20 are Tuesday (1 p.m., MLB.com).

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