The White Sox response to losing Luis Robert will play out over the multiple months he spends recovering from a complete tear to his hip flexor.
But Tony La Russa is at least certain of one thing in the immediate.
"These guys, they knew early on it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s never easy if it’s any good. They know," La Russa said before Tuesday night's game in Cincinnati, the team's first since Robert was hurt Sunday. "And our fans should be certain, I'm certain, we will respond with hellacious effort."
The White Sox spent Tuesday sharing their disappointment over having a second key cog yanked out of the middle of their lineup by a significant injury. Already they've been forced to respond to life without Eloy Jiménez, who ruptured his pectoral tendon during spring training. Now they must face life without Jiménez and Robert.
Based on their comments, they are at least fully cognizant of the challenge ahead of them, however upsetting it might be.
"There aren't many words to describe the feeling that we have now, the feeling that we had when we heard the news," White Sox first baseman José Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Tuesday. "It's a tough loss. It's a difficult situation for the team. But I think we have the pieces here to shore up that void that Robert created with his injury.
"As a team, we have to be united. We have to be stronger and play as a unit, go on ahead and try to do our best. Even though (Jiménez and Robert) are down right now, ultimately they can rejoin the team in the future and help us down the way. In the meantime, it's just us trying to do what we can."
As admirable as "hellacious effort" might be, it's uncertain how much it will be able to make up for the loss of what were supposed to be two of the biggest bats in the White Sox lineup. While Yermín Mercedes and Andrew Vaughn have impressed, to varying degrees, in helping to make up for the loss of Jiménez, the responsibility of carrying the lineup figures to fall to more established bats like Abreu, Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada, Yasmani Grandal and Adam Eaton.
There are some slow-starters among that group, and while the White Sox boasted one of the American League's top offenses prior to Robert going down, those guys will need to produce in order for the South Siders to maintain that claim over the course of the summer.
It's a steep challenge, undoubtedly, and eventually, the front office might need to acquire an impact player that can go further in helping to plug the two big holes in the lineup.
But as brutal as the loss of Robert seemed to be for the team, based on what Abreu and Mercedes shared Tuesday, it will need to come up with the kind of response La Russa promised if the White Sox are going to keep their sky-high, championship-level expectations afloat.
"Luis is like my brother," Mercedes said. "I've played every year with Luis, and we're having fun every time. I just am a little sad because I miss my brother.
"We're missing Robert right now, we're missing Eloy right now. We just need to keep the head up, keep going, keep doing the same things and trying to win games. Do the best we can do in every game.
"But for real, we're going to miss Luis now, and we're going to miss Eloy, too."