By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert will play for Cuba during the 2023 World Baseball Classic under manager Armando Johnson.
Robert last played for Cuba in the 2015 U-18 Baseball World Cup and was named to the All-Tournament Team at that event. Robert left the country of Cuba to pursue a career in Major League Baseball in November 2016.
After a few years excelling in the minor leagues and appearing in 2019 All-Star Futures Game, the White Sox signed Robert to a six-year, $50 million contract before he ever appeared in a Major League game.
Robert has progressed during his time with the White Sox, having made his MLB debut on July 24, 2020, during the Covid-19 Pandemic-shortened season. Robert batted .233 playing in 56 games with 227 plate appearances that season, with 47 hits, 11 home runs, and 31 RBI. In 2021, before Robert went to the 60-day injured list with a torn right hip flexor on May 2, he was batting .316 through 25 games. After he came off the injured list on August 9, Robert finished the season batting .338 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI.
Last season, Robert played in 98 games hitting .284, hitting 12 home runs, recording 108 hits and 56 RBI until he was placed on injured list on September 24 with a sprained left wrist from being hit by a pitch. Robert could play a big role for the Chicago White Sox this coming season under first-year manager Pedro Grifol. The White Sox finished in second place last year at 81-81 under Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa.
Cuba is set to go with a mix of players from the Major Leagues, international professional leagues, and players in their Elite League and Serie Nacional circuits. Robert could have a big impact for Cuba in Pool A of the World Baseball Classic, where they will face the Netherlands, host nation Chinese Taipei, Italy, and Panama.
Cuba will play the Netherlands in their first game of the 2023 World Baseball Classic on March 7 at 11 p.m. EST in Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung City, Taiwan on Fox Sports 1.