‘Always striving to be the best,’ Tim Anderson is first to start pushing at White Sox camp

“You know what we are trying to do, it’s to win the World Series,” Anderson said.

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Tim Anderson and the Sox are looking to bounce back from a 3-1 American League Division Series loss to the Astros.

Tim Anderson and the Sox are looking to bounce back from a 3-1 American League Division Series loss to the Astros.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Players are not required to arrive at spring camps until Sunday, three days after the owners’ lockout ended. But why wait?

Several White Sox didn’t, including star shortstop Tim Anderson. They were at Camelback Ranch on Friday morning getting ready for Opening Day on April 8.

It’s Anderson’s way not to be satisfied with who he has become, a face of the franchise who got here with personality, style and swagger and more importantly with the ability to win batting titles. It didn’t all come naturally. Anderson worked at hitting and figured some things out, and he’ll work some more on his defense, which he wants to raise up alongside his offense.

So there he was, taking grounders and hitting live batting practice along with outfielder/first baseman Andrew Vaughn and infielder Danny Mendick. All-Stars Lance Lynn and Liam Hendriks and relievers Garrett Crochet and Matt Foster also hit the ground running, throwing live batting practice. Dallas Keuchel also arrived, and more will be in camp Saturday.

“You know what we are trying to do, win the World Series,” Anderson said. “We are going to come here and play hard and try to win.”

Whatever individual goals Anderson has are being held close to the vest. He knows it does no good to throw those out there.

“I keep coming here telling you all I want to get better defensively and offensively. That’s all I can do is try to get better each and every year,” Anderson said. “I’m always striving to be the best.”

Whatever comes of that is a personal reward for an athlete who never expected to be a big-leaguer when he was excelling in basketball in high school.

“I did more than I ever thought I would,” he said. “Anything else is extra.”

Anderson says “keep pushing” many times a year, and his actions reflect that. It’s the only way to navigate weeks of spring training, 162 regular-season games — and a postseason.

The Sox are aiming for three seasons in a row for the latter, and a better outcome than the 3-1 American League Division Series trouncing from the Astros.

“They looked pretty human to me,” he said of the Astros. “They went out and played good baseball, and they beat us. We went out and played the best we could. We fell short. But just being in that situation definitely helped us moving forward this year and kind of knowing what to expect and be hungrier.

 “I’m pretty sure everybody is disappointed how it ended. Everybody is coming back more excited and more hungry.”

This and that

Tickets for the Sox’ home opener April 12 against the Mariners go on sale at 3 p.m. Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. Fans with tickets for the originally scheduled Opening Day on March 31, including season-ticket holders and single-game ticket buyers, are receiving information about exclusive pre-sale opportunities for the new opener. Fans with questions should contact tickets@chisox.com, the team said.

• The revised Cactus League schedule has the Sox opening March 19 against the Guardians at Camelback Ranch. The final two games of the 19-game slate are against the Cubs at Sloan Park and the Padres in Peoria, Arizona, April 4 and 5, respectively.

• Live batting practice highlights included 2021 second-round draft choice Wes Kath, a 19-year-old left-handed hitter who has been at the minor-league camp for weeks, homering against Crochet (who also struck out Vaughn). Lynn, who threw 35 pitches, gloved a comebacker between his legs for the spiffiest play of the day. 

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