White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson misses third straight game

Make it three games in a row and four of the last five on the sidelines for Anderson.

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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson rounds third base. (Getty Images)

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Make it three games in a row and four of the last five on the sidelines for White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

Although “much improved,” according to manager Tony La Russa, the All-Star was held out of the lineup with leg soreness Monday night in Toronto.

“Not going to push it,” La Russa said.

Anderson had rested Thursday afternoon after a night game, which was not unusual. But after leading the Sox to a 7-5 win over the Rays on Friday, he sat out Saturday and Sunday, both losses.

“He got some good work today,” La Russa said. “Just don’t feel confident playing him today.”

And he might not play Tuesday, La Russa said.

The Sox entered with a 9½-game lead in the American League Central, but that isn’t a factor.

“If this was a one- or two-game lead, and it’s Aug. 22, he would not play today and he probably would not play tomorrow,” La Russa said. “Now if it’s Sept. 22, there would be a question. But his legs are such an important part of his defense, baserunning, everything else. What do you gain by sending him out there and telling him to be careful?”

The Sox’ leadoff hitter mans one of the most important defensive positions and is viewed as the heart and soul of the team. The Sox are 61-43 in games he has played and 11-10 without him.

Down on the farm

After graduating prospects such as Andrew Vaughn, Garrett Crochet, Nick Madrigal and Michael Kopech to the major leagues, the Sox’ farm system has sunk in various rankings. Three of those players have helped them build a comfortable first-place lead in the division, and Madrigal was sent to the Cubs in a trade for Craig Kimbrel.

“It’s certainly different than what we’ve seen in the past from a ranking standpoint,” director of player development Chris Getz said. “But as you work through your own internal prospect list, there’s plenty to be encouraged by.”

The Sox used pitching prospects Brady Horn and Konnor Pilkington to acquire Cesar Hernandez and Ryan Tepera at the trade deadline, bolstering the roster for the stretch run.

“We did a pretty good job with the improvements we made on our major-league team,” Getz said. “That is a measure of what you have on the farm.”

But the Sox do not have a top-100 prospect. Five of their top seven were drafted out of high school, so there is some long-range upside, Getz said.

High school shortstop Colson Montgomery, the team’s first-round pick in June, heads the Sox’ top 10 per Baseball America. He’s followed by Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes, third baseman Wes Kath, Cuban pitcher Norge Vera and pitchers Andrew Dalquist and Jared Kelley.

“Once they get more professional games under their belts, there will be greater attention on those players and perhaps we make our way up the prospect rankings,” Getz said.

Kelley, a second-round pick in last year’s draft, has a minor shoulder impingement and will be further evaluated. Right-hander Jonathan Stiever had lat surgery Monday.

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