The Chicago White Sox announced Tuesday that outfielder Luis Robert, sidelined since early May by a torn hip flexor, has been medically cleared to "increase his level of baseball activities" at the team's spring training complex in Arizona.
The White Sox added that, while there's no set timetable on Robert's return to the big-league club, he could join a minor-league affiliate on a rehab assignment in about four weeks' time, around the beginning of August. Rehab stints can last up to 20 days for position players, putting him on schedule to rejoin the big-league roster in late August or early September, depending on the start date. When Robert was originally diagnosed, the fear was that he wouldn't be allowed to resume baseball activities for 12-16 weeks.
Robert, who will turn 24 later this summer, was off to a grand start to the season. In 25 games, he had hit .316/.359/.463 (128 OPS+) with eight home runs and four stolen bases on five tries while providing above-average defense.
The White Sox have shuffled through center-field options during Robert's absence, recently settling on veteran Brian Goodwin. To his credit, Goodwin has performed admirably as a fill-in by hitting .267/.353/.444 (122 OPS+) in 14 contests since joining the White Sox's big-league roster.
Between Goodwin's better-than-expected play and the seemingly encouraging news on Robert, the White Sox may be able to stand pat in center field heading into the July 30 trade deadline. Chicago is still expected to add a second baseman between then and now, with Nick Madrigal recently suffering a season-ending hamstring tear in mid-June.
Robert isn't the only key injured White Sox outfielder working his way back. Eloy Jiménez, who tore his pectoral muscle in spring training, was cleared to resume baseball activities on June 14.
The White Sox entered play on Tuesday with a 45-32 record on the season, good for first place in the American League Central. Chicago holds a two-game lead over Cleveland.