Shortstop Tim Anderson on defense: ‘I’ve got to get better’
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shortstop Tim Anderson made 14 errors in 98 games as a rookie last season, and 50 games into his second year, he’s only one miscue away from matching that total.
With 13, Anderson had the dubious distinction of leading the majors in errors going into the White Sox’ game Thursday against the Rays. Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos had 11, and Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus had 10.
“I’ve got to get better,’’ Anderson said before the Sox concluded a three-game series at Tropicana Field. “There are no excuses for the errors.’’
Seven of Anderson’s errors were on throws, and that’s the area bench coach Joe McEwing says is being addressed.
“He gets in trouble when he comes up out of his legs,’’ said McEwing, who works with the infielders. “That’s when his ball starts sinking. A lot of his errors are on throws where the balls sink. When he fields and stays in his legs, stays through it, he’s in a better spot. When he stands up, his feet get narrow or his feet get really wide, and it starts sinking.’’
Anderson, who turns 24 on June 23, is one of the players who’s penciled in for the Sox’ rebuilding design. As he came up through the system after being drafted 17th overall in 2013, Anderson gradually dismissed doubts that he might not be suited for shortstop at the major-league level. He certainly looked the part in 2016, and the Sox showed they were convinced when they signed him to a $25 million extension during spring training.
Anderson hit .204 in April, leading some to speculate that the contract weighed on him or put pressure on him, but he said that wasn’t the case.
“Through that time, I wasn’t thinking about the contract,’’ he said, “because I had started the  season in Triple-A the same way. I also had a lot of off-the-field stuff going on — there was so much going on.’’
That there was, including the tragic death of a close friend in Alabama, his home state.
“It’s getting better,’’ Anderson said. “Recovering and healing from things. I’ve been through a lot, but I’m still here.’’
Anderson had hit safely in six of his last seven games and was batting .301 with four home runs, four doubles, a triple and 11 RBI in 28 games since May 1, so his bat is coming.
“I feel real comfortable, that things are starting to click and going in the right direction,’’ he said.
As for the glove, Anderson can’t pinpoint one issue.
“Really, I don’t know,’’ he said. “I know I have to get better. There are still things I need to tighten up in my game defensively. Locking in more and just keep playing, continue to play through it and have fun with it.
“You’re going to make mistakes, but you can’t be afraid to make them. I can say one thing — when I do make them, I’m still putting my all into the way I play, and I can at least say I went hard. But it’s something to learn from. It’s been a learning season. I have to continue to get better and work.’’
McEwing is quick to point out the great plays Anderson has made, flashing range and athleticism and getting outs on tough chances.
“It’s also about more reps and continuing to grow as we move on,’’ McEwing said.
If he’s still fighting through some personal things off the field, “you still have to go out and make plays,’’ McEwing said. “He’s a very confident kid and a very talented kid. He’s going to continue to get better.’’
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