Luis Robert's return to game action could be as little as a month away.
The Chicago White Sox announced Tuesday that the injured center fielder, recovering from a torn hip flexor, was cleared to increase baseball activities as he continues to rehab in Arizona. They added that this phase of his recovery is expected to last roughly four weeks, when he could be cleared to begin a rehab assignment with a minor league affiliate.
At the moment, there is still no timetable on when Robert could return to the big league club. But this is undoubtedly good news for the White Sox, who are definitively closer to seeing their starting center fielder, an electric talent, back in action.
It's similar, nearly identical, to the update the team provided on fellow injured outfielder Eloy Jiménez two weeks ago, putting Jiménez halfway through that four-week phase right now.
It all sets up for the White Sox to potentially get both middle-of-the-order bats back for the final weeks of a pennant race.
That's great news no matter how you slice it, as it was possible when both significant injuries were announced — Jiménez's at the end of March and Robert's at the beginning of May — that the two young stars could miss the entirety of the season.
But it strikes as especially promising in the middle of a sorry stretch for the White Sox, 2-7 in their last nine games, where offense has been hard to find. It hasn't been enough to knock them from their perch atop the AL Central standings. But things have looked grim enough to make a midseason boost from outside the organization look extremely necessary.
Those kinds of trade-deadline moves are likely regardless of the eventual results of the outfielders' rehabs, with general manager Rick Hahn vowing aggressiveness in an effort not to waste what he's called a "sacred" chance to win the World Series. But all the injuries — in addition to Jiménez and Robert being sidelined, Nick Madrigal, Adam Eaton, Adam Engel and Michael Kopech are all currently on the IL — have forced the White Sox to become increasingly reliant on bench players, sparking wonder as to how they can continue to be a championship-quality team.
There's perhaps no better way to positively answer that question than to reinsert Jiménez and Robert into the middle of the lineup. And the updates on both guys, including Tuesday's on Robert, make that seem possible.