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Despite struggles, White Sox keeping the faith in Anderson

As rough as Tim Anderson’s second major-league season is going, he’s not counting down the weeks to the end.

There is more to play through, more to learn about playing shortstop with mechanical issues to work through and more time is needed to get acclimated to rookie second baseman Yoan Moncada. He also needs to learn how opposing pitchers are attacking him and swing at more of his pitches than theirs.

There are concerns about Anderson’s performance, and they seem warranted. After all, he leads all of baseball with 22 errors. His hitting line of .239/.261/.356 with nine homers isn’t striking much fear into pitching staffs. And at times he has been out of it mentally.

But Anderson, who made hard contact twice but went 0-for-4 as the Sox’ leadoff man Thursday, is determined to grind through August and September and turn his arrow upward heading into the offseason and into next year.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. (AP)

“Things could be worse,’’ said Anderson, who hit .283 in his first season in 2016. “Someone is going through worse times than I am. It’s an honor and blessing to have the guys and coaches in my corner, keeping me going every day.

“I’m at a point where I’m learning myself. Take this year, ball it all up and put it in one hole and learn from it. It has showed me who I am.’’

Anderson knows he will never forget 2017, which began with a celebratory $25 million extension during spring training. When close friend Branden Moss, the godfather of his young daughter, was murdered in May, the smile ran away from his face, and he plunged to an emotional low.

Anderson took it hard. He still does. But it’s getting better.

“Early on, especially, yes,’’ Anderson said. “Now I’m looking at a brighter side of it and playing for him, trying to bring the excitement back, having more fun and getting back to who I was.’’

While he’s not the only player to have real-life, off-the-field issues to deal with, general manager Rick Hahn, for one, sees Anderson’s hardship as well beyond ordinary.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a player in my time with the club that’s been as affected by off-the-field occurrences as Timmy has this year,’’ Hahn said. “We knew as a young player still adjusting to the major leagues that there were going to be some fits and starts in his development. Everything he’s had to deal with, both with the league adjusting to him and the off-the-field issues that he’s had to endure, has made it a tough year for him.

“But the talent is still there, we still think he’s going to continue to improve each year with more and more repetition and very much view him as being an important part of our future.”

Anderson, 23, is viewed as one of the definite pieces of the Sox’ rebuild who is already here, unless he plays himself out of it.

One scout who was high on the 2013 first-round draft pick last year hasn’t wavered, saying, give him time, he was brought up through the minors too fast.

Said another: “He’s really a good player. He’s just going through one of those periods right now. He’s trying to figure it out, and he can’t figure it out. But he’ll come back. He’s a great athlete.’’

The Sox, who envision the Anderson-Moncada tandem in the middle of the diamond for years to come, are banking on it.

“You can always learn,’’ Anderson said. “Ask questions if you don’t know. I’m kind of glad this happened to me early on because it’s definitely going to help me the rest of the way.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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