MINNEAPOLIS — As rough weeks go, this one is going down as an all-timer for White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.
He has made six errors in his last four games, a half-dozen eggs on the face of a team that leads the majors with 17.
What’s more, Anderson lost his composure Wednesday in Cleveland, flipping off a fan after he made three errors in the first two innings of an 11-1 loss. The gesture was caught on camera, and MLB suspended Anderson one game and levied a fine Friday.
Often described as a face of the Sox’ franchise, a distinction he embraces while bringing energy to the park every day, advancing his brand by interacting with fans and doing community work, Anderson knew he made a mistake. He apologized Friday night.
“There are a lot of kids out there watching,” Anderson said. “I have to be a bigger person in that situation.”
The Sox need Anderson to play bigger at short, and the rash of errors was head-scratching, especially after he fielded with aplomb before the defensive woes came storming in alongside the bad weather in Cleveland.
“He was playing unbelievable,” said bench coach Miguel Cairo, a former infielder. “He’s the energy of this team and the guy who gets us going. He’s back in there, and it’s another day. It happens. You have to move on and put those days behind you. Tim is one of the best shortstops in the big leagues. He’s going to be fine.”
Going in the hole and throwing across his body, Anderson hesitated trying to get a grip on Carlos Correa’s ground ball, and that throwing error coupled with a follow-up throwing error by Jose Abreu plated the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning of a 2-1 loss Friday.
Anderson has worked with coaches in recent days on altering his pre-pitch position, finishing his throws and eliminating flat-footed tosses to first base.
“You go through tough things,” Anderson said Friday night. “It just happens to be defense. I’m in a tough stretch right now. But nothing is going to stop. I have to keep working, and I have to continue to get better. I keep letting these guys down, but I’m going to keep working and get to where I need to be. That’s really all.”
Anderson is determined to be great, and he said getting there comes with taking lumps. He took two kinds of lumps this week.
“I understand that the game can be tough sometimes,” he said. “You can get frustrated sometimes, and people can say certain things that get you out of character, but for the most part ... just suck it up [about] whatever is being said.
Manager Tony La Russa gave Anderson a breather by pulling him in the fifth inning with the Sox trailing 7-1 Saturday. Anderson was 1-for-3 and is 2-for-15 this week. An ardent supporter of Anderson, La Russa knows he did wrong in Cleveland.
“We’re all vulnerable, man,” La Russa said. “But there is a level that you can’t [do]. He took responsibility. This guy, he’s really special. I don’t want this to taint his greatness as a person or a player.”