KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Anderson’s first April in the majors is behind him, and aside from a 13-10 start for the White Sox, he was glad to see it go.
After batting .283 with nine home runs his rookie season and signing a $25 million extension during spring training, Anderson batted .204 with two homers and six RBI in the first month. And while he used his considerable athleticism to make more flashy plays than any Sox player on the field, he also muffed more than his share of routine plays.
Third-base coach Nick Capra, for one, suspects an occasional lack of concentration. And Anderson, for another, doesn’t disagree.
“Definitely something I can learn from,’’ said Anderson, who dropped a soft liner, bobbled a ground ball and was charged with his sixth error in the loss Sunday to the Tigers.
He also made an outstanding running catch in foul territory.
“Forget the spectacular plays, the mistakes are something I can learn from,’’ Anderson said before the Sox opened a four-game series Monday against the slumping Royals at Kauffman Stadium with a 6-1 loss.
“The line drive was a lack of focus, trying to make a play before I make a play. Trying to get the runner before I caught the ball.’’
Capra, a former infielder, is kind of at a loss trying to analyze the inconsistency.
“I can’t put a finger on it,’’ Capra said. “Maybe a lack of focus or concentration, I don’t know. He makes so many outstanding plays, it overwhelms us, how athletic he is.’’
Capra abstained from breaking down Anderson’s technique, saying, “He’s kind of an unorthodox player because he’s so athletic. He reads a hop, gets the ball and gets rid of it.’’
Anderson didn’t have much action in the field Monday, and he singled in four at-bats on a night when the Sox only had five hits against lefty Jason Vargas and the Royals’ bullpen.
The Royals stopped a nine-game skid against rookie righty Dylan Covey, who, after opening with three scoreless innings, gave up six runs and nine hits, including home runs by Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer, the latter knocking Covey out with two outs in the seventh.
The Sox scored one in the fourth on Jacob May’s RBI single, the struggling rookie’s second hit in 35 at-bats.
Anderson hasn’t struggled with May-like magnitude, but he expected a better start.
He remains even-keeled.
“There are going to be times when the game gets up on you,’’ he said. “It’s a humbling game. When you find yourself getting up, it brings you down and brings you on a straight line. You can’t get too high or low.’’
Anderson knows the league is adjusting to him after he aggressively feasted on fastballs last season.
“From the success I had last year, they’re figuring out who I am,’’ he said, “and using that against me.’’
Anderson’s on-base percentage last season was only .306 because he walked all of 13 times. With three walks this year, the on-base percentage is unsatisfactory at .238, especially for one who’s batting first and second in Rick Renteria’s lineup.
Pitchers are “staying out of the zone, so he has to bring them back in,’’ Renteria said. “Focus on that hitting zone he can manage, then when he gets two strikes, battle.’’
“We’re off to a great start, and I feel like it’s going to click here,’’ he said. “I’m still learning the game, more so than just going off athleticism. As I get better and learn myself, I’m locking in and learning the game more in detail.’’
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