CLEVELAND — The only way Tim Anderson knows how to clean up his defense is to ‘‘keep working.”
The American League Player of the Month for April, Anderson got his major-league-best 12th stolen base in 12 attempts Monday and is on pace to surpass 30 home runs and 50 stolen bases.
But Anderson knows that to be the elite shortstop he wants to be, the defense has to come with the offense. And while his athleticism and range are elite, and he has improved on using his backhand, the fielding and throwing mistakes on routine plays have been counted too often.
Entering Monday, Mariners shortstop Tim Beckham led the majors with 11 errors. Anderson, Mets shortstop Amed Rosario and Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers were next with nine each.
Anderson was short with the media when asked about an ill-advised throw for the ninth error Sunday. He said Monday that he wasn’t offended by the question.
“I just said if you saw the game, you saw what happened, so I didn’t have to touch on it,” he said. “No, I wasn’t in a bad mood. It was just common sense. I didn’t think I had to explain what happened. I just grabbed the ball and threw it away.’’
During a 2½-minute conversation, Anderson said “keep working” eight times.
“That’s what it is,” he said. “Keep working, keep working and get better every day, and I’ll be able to eliminate questions like that. That’s the plan; that’s the goal.’’
Keeping it fun
Anderson’s goals also include keeping things fun, and he stuck to it Monday, when Indians starter Trevor Bauer tweeted before the game, “Hey, @TimAnderson7, I’m all in on the bat flips, man, but if you could skip a day, today would be great. Even the lord took a day of rest. Thanks, my dude.”
To which Anderson replied, “My numbers against you are ugly . . . so if I get you, I gotta flip it, homie.”
Anderson would not homer but got two hits against Cleveland, including 1-for-3 with a two-run single against Bauer, who matched a career high with eight runs allowed.
“It’s a different approach, and it gets the fans to see that it’s all fun and not just we’re trying to take each other’s heads off,” he said.
A day after outfielder Adam Engel was shipped to Class AAA Charlotte, Charlie Tilson came up to take his spot on the roster.
Right-hander Ryan Burr was reinstated from the injured list after recovering from A/C joint inflammation in his right shoulder. And Nate Jones, diagnosed with a flexor pronator strain, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Tilson, who was hitting .333 with a homer, seven doubles, two triples and 19 RBI, singled sharply and doubled his first two times up against Bauer.
He has battled injuries in his career but feels “strong this year.”
Tilson praised “awesome” Charlotte hitting coach Frank Menechino, in his first year in the Sox’ organization, “for helping me put the pieces together.”
“I feel as dangerous as I really ever have in my career at the plate right now,” he said.
Herrera still day-to-day
Right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who left the game Sunday with back spasms, is receiving treatment and is still day-to-day, manager Rick Renteria said.
Eloy Jimenez (high right ankle sprain) continued to progress in his recovery, appearing to move around well and putting on a power display during batting practice. Jimenez hasn’t run yet, which will be the final test before going on a minor-league rehab assignment.