Riding 0-for-24 slump, Robert gets needed day off
It became very clear in recent days that Luis Robert needed a break.
The slumping rookie center fielder finally got one Thursday, taking a seat in the dugout during the White Sox's game at Cleveland.
"It's a day to rest him and just watch the game and simplify it," manager Rick Renteria said.
After a monster first month-plus of the season, Robert is mired in an 0-for-24 slump and hitting .086/.198/.129 with 30 strikeouts over 82 plate appearances in September.
"We need him," Sox first baseman Jose Abreu said through a translator. "We need him to be the player that we all saw he can be in the middle of this season and the player we know that he can be in the future. We all know he's going to be a superstar and we need him.
"It's not a joke, he's a very important player for us and we need him to find his stride again and help us because the race is not going to get any easier."
Instead of hitting the ball to all fields and launching mammoth homers like he did at the beginning of the season, Robert has been pulling off the ball and chasing pitches out of the strike zone.
"The reality is you have a young man coming into the big leagues and no matter how talented you are, you hit a wall," Renteria said. "I know nobody wants to see the wall be hit, but you hit a wall."
Out since early August with a left biceps strain, relief pitcher Aaron Bummer was reinstated from the 45-day injured list before Thursday night's game at Cleveland.
A key piece of the White Sox's bullpen, Bummer could have returned to the mound in the seventh inning when the Indians were rallying.
Instead, he didn't get the ball until the eighth, after Cleveland turned a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead. Bummer pitched a scoreless inning in his return.
Carlos Rodon also rejoined the Sox Thursday after missing most of the season with left shoulder soreness.
Called upon to pitch out of the bullpen for the first time since May of 2015, Rodon wasn't up to the challenge, giving up 1 run on 2 hits while getting one out.
To clear roster spots for Rodon and Aaron Bummer, relief pitchers Steve Cishek and Ross Detwiler were designated for assignment.
Cishek, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the White Sox on Jan. 14, was a bust this season. In 20 innings of relief over 22 appearances, the right-hander allowed 12 runs (5.40 ERA).
The Sox wrap up the regular season with a three-game series against the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.52 ERA) starts the series opener for the White Sox against Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.22). It's Dane Dunning (2-0, 3.19) vs. Jon Lester (3-2, 4.40) Saturday and Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 4.68) vs. TBA, perhaps Jose Quintana (0-0, 5.63) Sunday.