ATLANTA — Tim Anderson picked up in September where he left off in August, with a double and single in his first two plate appearances against the Braves Sunday.
Anderson (44 hits) and Jose Abreu (42) somewhat quietly had standout months offensively in August, ranking first and second in the American League, and Anderson, the high ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of July well behind him, is enjoying batting second on a regular basis now and looking to finish the 2019 season strong.
“I’m past that [recovery period from the injury],” Anderson said. “I’m back to where I was. Even when I was hurt I was locked in and still working on my swing. Now I’m taking it a day at a time and trying to run to the finish line. My ultimate goal is to finish strong.”
This was Anderson’s 46th game batting second and 10th time in the last 11 games.
I like it,” Anderson said. “Getting more at-bats and I get a chance to start something off early, get the game going.”
With his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., a three-hour drive away, Anderson had a large contingent of family, wife’s family and friends watching him at SunTrust Park this weekend.
“To go out and play in front of my family and friends is dope, man,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of rare that we play close to them.”
Rare indeed. This was the first time the Sox played in Atlanta since 2012.
Banuelos, Fulmer join the force
Left-hander Manny Bañuelos and right-hander Carson Fulmer returned from injury rehabilitation assignments at Class AAA Charlotte, and not a moment too soon. Manager Rick Renteria had been going through relievers like water in the last few days, so the bullpen reinforcements were more than welcome on the first day to expand rosters.
“We’ve used all our relief so having them available today is a good thing for us,” Renteria said Sunday.
Banuelos (shoulder inflammation), who was on 60-day injured list, hadn’t pitched since June 16. Fulmer strained his right hamstring running out a ground ball against the Phillies Aug. 2.
Fulmer, the Sox’ 2015 first-round draft choice, owns a career 6.38 ERA covering 86 innings in parts of four seasons. In 14 appearances this season, he owns a 5.30 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 15 walks covering 18 2⁄3 innings.
Banuelos, who made the Opening Day roster and made eight starts, is 3-4 with a 6.90 ERA.
While facing the Yankees June 15, “I felt something pull out of my shoulder, that’s the first time I felt that,” Banuelos said. “Honestly I got scared. … But I don’t feel that anymore, so I feel good.”
Yo, drink plenty of fluids
Yoan Moncada just missed three weeks in August with a right hamstring strain, so it was an “oh, no Yoyo” moment when assistant trainer James Kruk and Renteria went out to check him Saturday night. But Moncada stayed in the game and was in the lineup Sunday.
“When I ran to first base, it tightened up a little bit,” Moncada Sunday said through an interpreter. “It was nothing serious.”
It was another reminder to hydrate, especially in warm weather climates like Georgia.
“I’ve been taking care of hydration even though I’m not a person who likes to drink a lot of water,” Moncada said. “But Iv’e been better in that aspect.”
Eloy warms up
Renteria on Eloy Jimenez, who had five hits in the first two games of the series, was 7-for-13 in his last three and was batting .297 with seven extra-base hits including four homers in his previous 19 games: “People see flaws in swings and mechanics, guys in front or chasing a pitch, it has nothing to do with mechanics, it’s pitch selection. When you swing at balls that are more manageable everything looks a lot better.”