White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson landed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a strained left hamstring. And then Billy Hamilton left the game against the Mariners on Wednesday with a tight hamstring. Hamilton is already the Sox’ third player to be sidelined with hamstring problems.
Infielder Danny Mendick, who is traveling with the team on the taxi squad, was recalled to fill Anderson’s spot on the roster and started at shortstop.
The move is retroactive to April 5, a day after Anderson pulled up lame running out a ground ball in the first inning against the Angels in Anaheim.
Manager Tony La Russa and Anderson had expressed hope that Anderson would be ready for the home opener against the Royals on Thursday, but on Wednesday La Russa said “it wasn’t going to be realistic.”
La Russa said a return Monday looked reasonable but it wasn’t worth pushing, especially this early in the season and with potentially dicey weather conditions on the upcoming homestand.
“Put everything together and we’ve got five months plus to play,” La Russa said. “We’re very confident when the [IL] period is over next Thursday he’ll be ready to go.”
Anderson led the majors with a .335 batting average in 2019 and followed that by winning the Silver Slugger Award for American League shortstops during the abbreviated 60-game season in 2020.
“You can’t replicate him,” La Russa said. “He’s one of the best players in the game.”
Anderson joins outfielders Eloy Jimenez (torn pectoral muscle) and Adam Engel (hamstring) on a mounting IL.
Hamilton, who started in left field, grabbed his hamstring after stealing third base on the front end of a double steal in the sixth. He stayed in the game but didn’t take the field in the bottom of the inning.
Home opener ceremonies
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 2:20 p.m. for pregame ceremonies for the home opener Thursday. First pitch is 3:10 p.m. Jose Abreu will be presented with his 2020 AL Most Valuable Player award, the Sox’ first since Frank Thomas in 1994.
Nine healthcare workers from Rush University Medical Center will be recognized, as will head groundskeeper Roger Bossard in recognition of his 55th Opening Day. Joe Wikman of Rush will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Players, coaches, medical staff and personnel will be introduced, and the virtual national anthem will be sung by country music artist Laine Hardy.
The Sodfather’s big day
Bossard, who has designed major-league fields across the country, and has a patented drainage and irrigation systems used by 19 of the 30 major-league teams, joined the Sox in 1967 as an assistant to his father, Gene, the head grounds-keeper from 1940-83.
“Not only for myself, but for most groundskeepers, Opening Day is the most important and biggest day of the year,” Bossard said. “People are coming back, it’s the first day, they all have the winter stress. The field has to look immaculate.
“I’ve put on three different types of fertilizer. I’ve mowed the grass probably a dozen times already. It’s that showtime for the grounds-keeper. It’s really huge.”