ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Happy days are almost here again for shortstop Tim Anderson.
Think physical pain is the only hardship that comes with a high ankle sprain? Not for this emotional guy, who has been out since injuring his right ankle while fielding a grounder June 25 in Boston.
“I don’t want to talk about baseball,” he said nearly two weeks later, on the final day before the All-Star break. “I’m too sad.”
And Anderson looked it as he sat in the dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field that day and watched his teammates prepare for a game against the Cubs. He hasn’t spoken with the media since, other than to politely decline interviews.
But Monday could brighten things up for Anderson and for the White Sox, who face the Marlins to open their longest homestand — 10 games — of the season.
“He’s doing very, very well,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’re going to put him heavily through the wringer on Monday at home, with everything — running the bases, hitting, obviously all the fielding that he’s doing. We’ll evaluate it, and hopefully we’re in a position where he’ll be out on [a rehab assignment].”
Anderson took his activity to a new level during a weekend series against the Rays, running the bases essentially at full-go hours before one of the games. He already had been putting in fielding and hitting work.
The Sox obviously have missed Anderson, one of their breakout stars, who was hitting .317 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI and 15 stolen bases at the time of his injury. There’s little doubt Anderson has missed the action on the field more.
“He really takes a lot of joy in competing and having that edge for us on the field,” Renteria said. “It’s like anybody who loves to play the game.”
A whole lotta nothin’
A team has to try hard to squander an opportunity as big as the one the Sox had Sunday in the first inning of a 4-2 loss to 2018 American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell and the Rays.
It started with leadoff man Leury Garcia knocking one off the left-field wall (yet somehow not reaching second base). With Yoan Moncada at the plate, Garcia stole second. And after a Moncada walk, a double steal put runners at second and third.
That’s a hit and three stolen bases — before the first out — yet it amounted to bupkis. Jose Abreu struck out. With James McCann up, Garcia was thrown out trying to score after a pitch got away from catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Fresh off making an excellent tag at home, Snell returned to the mound and struck out McCann. It was the first time since 2001 that the Sox stole three bases in an inning and failed to score.
An auspicious restart
After being recalled from Class AAA Charlotte in time for the opener of the series against the Rays, outfielder Adam Engel started all three games in center and had six hits.
“Just trying to calm down, get comfortable in the box and just see the ball,” he said.
ON DECK: MARLINS AT WHITE SOX
Monday: Trevor Richards (3-11, 4.24 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (4-9, 5.86), 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 720-AM.
Tuesday: Caleb Smith (5-4, 3.47) vs. Dylan Covey (1-5, 5.83), 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 720-AM.
Wednesday: Zac Gallen (0-2, 3.63) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (5-8, 5.76), 7:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.