Luis Robert's first minor league baseball game in the United States will come significantly later than expected.
The White Sox announced Saturday morning that Robert, one of the organization's most prized prospects, will be sidelined for 10 weeks as he recovers from a sprained ligament in his thumb.
According to the team, Robert injured his thumb sliding into second base during Wednesday's spring training game, the same game in which Robert hit an eighth-inning grand slam after suffering the injury.
But the joy of that big home run will dissipate after this latest news. Per the White Sox, Robert's left hand will be immobilized for approximately six weeks, and he's not expected to return to game action for approximately 10 weeks.
Robert is ranked as the organization's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the No. 28 prospect in all of baseball. The Cuban import has been getting White Sox fans excited throughout spring training, be it with his buzz-worthy batting-practice sessions with fellow highly touted outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Micker Adolfo or with that grand slam in his first Cactus League start.
Robert is just the latest White Sox prospect to suffer a significant injury this spring. Jake Burger suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will miss the entirety of the 2018 campaign. Adolfo has an elbow injury that could end up requiring surgery, though he continues to play in spring games as the White Sox hope to avoid surgery. Jimenez has been sidelined for much of Cactus League play, with just one at-bat to this point, though the team hopes he can return to action this weekend.
Obviously none of these injuries impact the team's fortunes at the big league level in 2018. But the much-discussed rebuild is finally facing some challenges after more than a year of Rick Hahn stacking the farm system with top talent. If there's a silver lining, it's that these injuries are coming now rather than a year or two from now when the White Sox hope to be a contending team. Still, these injuries could have an effect on the team's contention window, with prospects potentially taking longer to reach the big leagues than they would have without these setbacks.
Robert made just the one start in spring training and finished his first big league camp with three hits, including the grand slam, in 10 at-bats. His next game will be his first minor league game in the U.S. He played in a handful of Dominican League games after joining the White Sox organization last summer.