Luis Robert’s 2022 season is officially over, after the White Sox placed the outfielder on the 10-day injured list due to a sprained left wrist. Left-hander Tanner Banks was also optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, while outfielder Mark Payton was called up from Charlotte and righty Joe Kelly was reinstated from the medical leave list.
Robert’s wrist has been bothering him since Aug. 12, when he suffered a sprain while trying to steal a base in a 2-0 Chicago win over the Tigers. White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including The Athletic’s James Fegan) that Robert’s injury was re-aggravated after he was hit by a pitch on Sept. 6 during a game against the Mariners, which led to Robert receiving more sporadic playing time over the last few weeks. Three different hand specialists determined that there isn’t any structural damage, Hahn said, but Robert just needs time off to fully heal.
As a result, Robert has been shut down, ending his season with a .284/.319/.426 slash line and 12 home runs over 401 plate appearances. His wrist problem seemed to sap his effectiveness at the plate, as Robert had only a .414 OPS over his final 47 PA of 2022.
Robert also missed time due to blurred vision and the COVID-related IL this season, and thus played in only 98 of Chicago’s games. Between his absences this season and the hip flexor strain that cost him a big chunk of the 2021 campaign, Robert has played in only 166 of a possible 324 games since the start of the 2021 season. When he was able to play, Robert posted great numbers in 2021 and his 2022 production was still solidly above average (112 wRC+), but it still represents a disappointment for a player who has shown glimpses of superstar potential.
The White Sox can only hope that Robert is able to fully heal up over the winter, and is then able to stay on the field for most or all of the 2023 campaign. Robert’s injury-plagued year is one of but several “if only…” laments South Side fans have about a White Sox season that is looking increasingly like it will fall short of the playoffs. The 76-75 Sox are on a four-game losing streak, and have dropped to a 76-75 record, falling eight games behind the Guardians in the AL Central and 6.5 games out of the wild card race.