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Billy Hamilton goes on IL, Luis Robert nears return to Sox

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Billy Hamilton is back on the injured list, for the third time this season.

The Chicago White Sox announced Sunday that their speedy outfielder went to the 10-day IL with a strained right oblique, the same injury that was responsible for Hamilton's last stay on the shelf.

"Yeah, the same one," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Sunday. "He's so active that once in a while he tweaks it. We don't think it's anything that's going to keep him out very long."

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Hamilton has found himself as a fan favorite following some early offensive struggles this season. "Billy the Hitter" has earned cheers from the South Side faithful as often as the base-running and defensive prowess he's showed more frequently throughout his major league career.

That speed figured to be the main reason the White Sox added Hamilton during spring training, as a role player who could provide a specific but potentially game-changing element during a season with World Series aspirations. With injuries all over the White Sox outfield, though, Hamilton has played a much larger role than expected.

Of course, those injured starting outfielders are beginning to make their way back to the White Sox, with a potential roster crunch brewing for role players who have done admirable work in stepping up, guys like Hamilton and Brian Goodwin.

 

Eloy Jiménez returned to the club just Monday, though he's missed the last four games while dealing with groin tightness. La Russa said this weekend that his fingers are crossed that Jiménez could be back in the lineup for the start of a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

Luis Robert is working his way through a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, where he's got five hits, including a double, and three walks in four games.

As for when Robert could make his return? Could it be as soon as next week?

"I don't expect for Kansas City that (Robert is) going to be here," La Russa said. "I may be wrong. ... Just excited that there's a lot of progress being made."

Robert's arrival combined with that of Jiménez and Yasmani Grandal, who is working his way back from knee surgery and expected to return before the end of the regular season, will team with the splashy addition of Craig Kimbrel — acquired along with Ryan Tepera and César Hernández a trio of deadline deals — to provide a double whammy of impact reinforcements for a White Sox team eyeing a deep October run.

La Russa liked that phrasing Saturday.

"I mean, I can't wait to embrace that double whammy," the South Side skipper said.

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