Luis Robert Jr. threw his non-derby hat into the Home Run Derby ring on Wednesday. He initially declined the offer, but fellow Cubans Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia persuaded him to bolster the representation of his homeland.
“I was talking about that with Adolis a few minutes ago. We said at least we have to break the record that we set in Cuba, because we didn’t hit any homers in that competition,” Robert said. “It definitely is an honor to represent Cuba, my country. I feel proud of it.
“We left our country with a lot of sacrifices trying to look for a better future. We were able to get that. Now being on this stage, being able to represent our country, it’s something that makes you feel happy and just makes you proud. You carry your country wherever you go.”
Robert’s All-Star week plate appears to be getting pretty full. Besides his participation in the contest, he may also get to start the All-Star Game, because Mike Trout joined Aaron Judge on the injured list with a broken hamate earlier this week. Considering Robert is the lone White Sox representative, and none of his teammates figure to be added even after accounting for other injuries and absences, it’s good that he’ll be as visible as possible. That’s assuming Robert isn’t one of those injured or otherwise unable to make it.
If Robert’s presumed attendance holds, he’ll be the first White Sox to enter the Home Run Derby since Todd Frazier made it all the way to the finals in 2016. Frazier went on to finish with 40 homers, and so Robert will try to replace him as the most recent White Sox to reach that round number after the break.
(Side note: Despite the 40 homers, Frazier only drove in 98 runs due to his .225 average and league-leading 18.5 percent infield fly ball rate. Robert has an even ghastlier homer-to-RBI ratio, as he’s on pace for 47 and 91. His current 25 homers and 49 RBIs projects to 47 and 91.)
PERTINENT: Luis Robert Jr. makes All-Star Game
It didn’t take long for Oscar Colás to start chipping away at the muted enthusiasm toward his return to the White Sox.
“He was the second hitter in that inning, and there was a ground ball that led off that inning that he forgot about,” manager Pedro Grifol said before the Sox’ scheduled game with the Jays was rained out Wednesday night.
The mental miscue didn’t cost the Sox. But Grifol found it surprising.
“It actually does because we’ve addressed those things,” Grifol said. “We addressed it [Tuesday] night a few times.”
There are worse ways to forget there are two outs, like when Nick Madrigal bunted with a runner on third last week (Madrigal has since landed on the IL with a hamstring strain, so he’s playing all the hits right now). The timing is the bigger issue. Had Colás committed this blunder in April or August, it probably wouldn’t have made much of an impression. Doing so on the same day he returned to the majors with the intent of proving he’s better able to process the game doesn’t inspire as much confidence as everybody would hope.