Luis Robert Jr. showed his ability to knock out an extra base hit with a terrific catch.
Against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at Great American Ball Park, the Chicago White Sox center fielder showed off his arm by doubling a runner at first with a sensational throw after making a catch.
The sequence also came in a critical stretch, with the Sox leading by one run in the ninth inning. Reliever Reynaldo López followed the double play with a strikeout to preserve the 5-4 win.
“I didn’t think the runner (Jake Fraley) was going to take that big of a lead because it was honestly a routine fly,” Robert said through an interpreter before Wednesday’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. “When I saw that, I thought, ‘Let’s try it.’ I took advantage of her.
“Nobody talks about my arm strength too much, but that’s also because I feel like I don’t have a super arm.”
Robert has been superb at the plate recently. He hit a home run in that game, a two-run shot that gave the Sox the lead for good.
He entered Wednesday on an eight-game hitting streak and slashed .462/.588/.923 (12-for-26) during the stretch with three doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs and 10 runs. He hit a solo homer Tuesday in a 4-2 win against the Royals.
Robert said he didn’t do anything specifically different.
“It’s just baseball,” Robert said. “You’re not always going to get the results you hope to get, and that’s baseball. But you have to keep working hard and the results will be there sooner rather than later if you work hard.”
Robert entered Wednesday hitting .261/.331/.507 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 36 games.
“I really see them in a good place right now,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Monday. “They work a lot on swing decisions in the cages. We try to emulate (at bats) in cages and work on swing decisions. This is very important to us. We’ve been doing it for about a week and a half now. We are seeing some improvements.
“Guys might get more comfortable at the plate. There are a lot of things that could go into this. When you don’t swing the bat well, you tend to widen the area a little bit, to mess up. But for the most part, our guys are starting to narrow down the strike zone a little bit and get good pitches to hit.”
Five of Robert’s nine walks came during the hitting streak.
“It’s about experience,” Robert said of patience at the plate. “(With) more experience, you know more how they attack you. I can also make adjustments on a daily basis because it doesn’t always attack you the same way. Then, for you to be able to recognize that, I think you’re doing it with experience.”
There was also a teachable moment when Robert was pulled from an April 29 game against the Tampa Bay Rays after he slowed on his way to first base. Communication was one component in the situation.
“I definitely understand that part,” Robert said. “They try to protect you, but they also know the importance of being able to play. If I feel I can play a higher percentage, even if it’s not 100%, if I feel I can run I will. I will push for it.”
Billy Hamilton to IL as part of 4 roster moves
The Sox made four roster moves Wednesday, including placing outfielder Billy Hamilton on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain retroactive to Sunday.
“It felt a little weird (after a stolen base against the Minnesota Twins), but it wasn’t that bad,” Grifol said Wednesday, “but it just kept getting worse and worse and (they took some pictures here and ( he) ) needed a break.”
The Sox also selected the contract of infielder Jake Marisnick from Triple-A Charlotte, recalled pitcher Nick Padilla from Charlotte and designated reliever Alexander Colomé for assignment.
Marisnick slashed .264/.407/.391 with six doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, 17 walks, 12 runs and eight stolen bases in 30 games with the Knights.
“Jake will play defense late, run, pinch run,” Grifol said. “He’s going to get in there against left-handed pitching. Happy to have him here, very good defender, right handed bat, can run the bases, steal some bases, high energy, high motor.”
Sox recall longtime scout Dave Yoakum
Yoakum died Wednesday at his home in Orlando, Florida. He was 76 years old.
Yoakum was the Sox’s assistant general manager from 1991-2020. They made the postseason five times during that span, including winning the World Series in 2005.
Yoakum was a co-founder of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.