Shortstop Tim Anderson knows it makes sense to pick his spots. If that means coasting to first base on a routine fly ball or groundout every now and then, so be it.
Or if it means getting a full day off as he was given Sunday to take care of his sore legs, carry on.
Manager Tony La Russa says there are sore backs and sore legs throughout the roster, and he’s resting players when he can. Anderson will get two days with the day off Monday. Luis Robert was off Saturday, and Yoan Moncada sat out Sunday, leaving Jake Lamb and Leury Garcia manning the left side of the infield in the rubber game of the weekend series against the Cubs.
It’s normal aches and pains, the type of stuff players play through in October, although Anderson’s time off suggests it’s a little more. In the meantime, La Russa will continue to scale back from things like starting runners from first base on 3-1 or 3-2 counts with less than two outs.
“There’s some wear and tear after five months,” he said.
When Rick Renteria managed the Sox, he demanded players run out everything at max effort. La Russa expects effort, “but you’re not running in the Olympics,” he said. “We tell them to be careful.”
Even before this stretch of games that has him sitting out, Anderson would pick his spots.
“It comes to a point where you have to be smart,” Anderson told the Chicago Sun-Times recently. “I don’t think it’s disrespectful to the game; it’s understanding there are great players out there who are guaranteed to make that play.
‘‘On certain ground balls, you might hit something hard, and you have no chance of beating it out. But at least give some effort. On some ground balls, you know you have a shot, and you’re going to give it. Now we’re at the point in the season where we need everybody healthy, doing what we’re trying to do. In October, we don’t need any missing pieces when that time comes.”
Having a 10-game lead in the American League Central with September fast approaching affords La Russa the luxury of resting players. La Russa expresses sensitivity to fans who are denied seeing their favorites in uniform, but the big picture comes first. Some players, like Jose Abreu, refuse to sit. Others welcome it.
Anderson needs it. After missing five of six games, he returned to regular action with four consecutive games. And now it’s time for another rest.
“We are being very conscious with our legs at this point,” La Russa said.
“In Tim’s case, his legs, they’re barking, so he gets today and tomorrow.”
100 RBI for Abreu, again
Abreu drove in two runs with a double for his 100th and 101st RBI. It’s his sixth career 100-RBI season, tying Paul Konerko for second in Sox history and four shy of Frank Thomas.
Yasmani Grandal was 6-for-12 in the series. In his first action since coming off the injured list, he caught two games, DH’d in one and had three homers, a double and 10 RBI.