Tim Anderson takes role as role model seriously

TORONTO — White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson has noticed what’s going on in the streets of Chicago. And the senseless murder of a dear friend in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, really hit home.

“It’s tough to see what’s happening, even to kids younger than me,’’ Anderson, 23, said Saturday. “To see what they’re going through. . . . I hope I can make an impact on changing that and making them feel safer. Clean it up a little bit.’’

To that end, Anderson and his wife started an outreach program with Youth Guidance last week called “Anderson’s League of Leaders,” launched at Parker Community Academy on the South Side. Youth Guidance specializes in school-based interventions dedicated to student engagement, personal achievement and violence prevention. Anderson talked with the boys and his wife with the girls.

“The youth are our future,’’ Anderson said. “After what happened to my friend, my wife and I wanted to take on the task of helping the youth have a fresh future.’’

Tim Anderson turns a double play in the sixth inning as Kevin Pillar of the Blue Jays slides into second base at Rogers Centre on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Anderson’s emotions were shattered by the shooting death of a close friend last month. The friend, the godfather of the Andersons’ daughter, was coming to the aid of a man who was attacked outside a nightclub. Anderson missed four games to attend the funeral.

The athlete as role model isn’t for all, but Anderson, who doubled and scored on Yolmer Sanchez’s squeeze bunt in the Sox’ 5-2 victory Saturday against the Blue Jays, is embracing it.

“Definitely,’’ he said. “I feel like the youth on the South Side might listen to me, being of the same color, kind of more relatable. I understand what it’s like coming from the type of environment they’re around. I haven’t lived that way, but I know what it’s like. It’s more relatable and easier for them to talk to me.’’

Anderson signed a $25 million extension before the season, and he intends to let his success be a benefit to others.

“I haven’t always been this Tim Anderson,’’ he said. “I haven’t always been this blessed. . . . I know what it’s like struggling, going through those types of things. Never forget where you come from.’’

This and that

Carlos Rodon allowed three runs and seven hits in 5⅔ innings for Class AAA Charlotte in his third rehab start. He walked one, fanned one and threw 89 pitches.

◆ Matt Davidson, who played third base, extended his hitting streak to six games with his team-high 15th homer. He is 10-for-24 (.416) with five homers, nine RBI and a 1.565 OPS during the streak.

◆ Jose Abreu’s homer was his first since May 24 in Arizona. All 11 of his homers have come on the road. Todd Frazier’s 11th homer snapped an 0-for-18 streak.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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