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White Sox will be cautious with Tim Anderson, who’s close to returning

Expected to return Tuesday, Anderson will be eased back into the lineup.

Tim Anderson encourages teammates from the dugout during a game last month against the Pirates.
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Shortstop Tim Anderson should be back Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean he’ll play every day when he returns.

Before the game Sunday, White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Anderson is expected to play Tuesday against the Angels. On the injured list since Sept. 1 (retroactive to Aug. 29) with a left hamstring strain, Anderson went through a vigorous pregame workout Sunday, testing the injury by running the bases.

“The key is his legs are such a critical part of his game,” La Russa said. “Whether it’s defense or offense, he tweaked it one time before and it was the same so we were being very super careful with it.”

That caution will continue once Anderson is activated.

La Russa said the Sox will break Anderson in “little by little,” similar to how they’ve handled Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez after their injuries.

”It’ll be similar. Good analogy,” La Russa said. “Going to be even more careful with Tim because of his legs, hamstrings, for one thing. It will probably resemble something like spring training.”

And even with the contributions from Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick, the Sox are eager to get Anderson back.

“No disrespect to them, but Tim is one of the best out there,” La Russa said. “When he plays, it helps spark everybody. Now, he’s doing it in the dugout as a cheerleader, but it’s not the same as when he plays. Getting him back will be a big boost for us.”

A good problem

Without Anderson, Robert has spent the bulk of the time leading off, hitting first nine times since Aug. 29. Now with Anderson coming back, La Russa has to figure out where to slot the red-hot Robert and Yoan Moncada, whose handling of the two-hole has impressed La Russa.

Does Robert move down? Does Moncada? Regardless of what La Russa decides, it sounds like a good problem to have.

“Point is Robert, has been so impressive this year,” La Russa said. “There’s a decision there, again too many good players.”

Grand Grandal

With his second-inning single, Yasmani Grandal got on base for a career-best 28th consecutive game. After going 1-for-3 on Sunday, Grandal is 19-for-42 (.452) with six home runs in 13 games since returning from the injured list on Aug. 27.

Grandal, who played in his 1,000th career game Saturday, said he kept doing his homework even after undergoing knee surgery and was reading reports like he was playing.

“You learn a lot just by watching,” Grandal said. “Sitting on the bench just watching taught me a lot. So the fact that I’m able to do what I’ve been doing, it’s great. We needed it.”

More injury updates

Rookie Andrew Vaughn (leg soreness) wasn’t available for the third consecutive game. La Russa said Vaughn began having the issue during the Oakland series, and that the team doesn’t know when he’ll be available.

As for Adam Engel (left shoulder inflammation), La Russa said he’s doing well and could return sometime during the upcoming road trip that begins Friday at Texas.