White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson suspended 3 games but will appeal

The All-Star learned shortly before the Sox’ 3-2 comeback victory Saturday against the Athletics that he was suspended and fined.

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Oakland Athletics v Chicago White Sox

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The thought of the White Sox finally fielding a team at full strength is becoming as challenging as their chances of overtaking the Twins and Guardians in the American League Central.

Their latest setback will occur at some point during their current stretch of 31 games in 31 days. All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson learned shortly before the Sox’ 3-2 comeback victory Saturday against the Athletics that he was assessed a three-game suspension and an undisclosed fine.

“If you want to talk about the suspension, I ain’t talking,” said Anderson, who immediately appealed his penalty and went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.

The Sox overcame a 2-0 deficit and won on a wild pitch by Zach Jackson that scored pinch runner Adam Engel from third base with Anderson at the plate in the ninth inning.

Gavin Sheets, who hit a pop to second with runners at second and third in the fifth, smacked a two-run, game-tying home run in the seventh and led off the ninth with an opposite-field double to left.

“I told [Johnny] Cueto he didn’t deserve to get a loss,” Sheets said.

Meanwhile, the recent history of umpires and Anderson could make it difficult for him to have his suspension reduced.

The announcement of Anderson’s suspension occurred about two hours after manager Tony La Russa revealed that center fielder Luis Robert wouldn’t play this weekend on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Charlotte because of cold symptoms and would be evaluated Monday.

Considering that he has played in only one rehab game and coped for 10 days with blurred vision, Robert probably won’t be ready to rejoin the Sox until next weekend at Texas at the earliest.

It’s the third time in four seasons that Anderson has been suspended and the second time in less than a season that he has been forced to miss games after making contact with an umpire.

Anderson was penalized for his actions after he was ejected by plate umpire Nick Mahrley. The bill of Anderson’s helmet struck Mahrley’s cap, but La Russa thought Anderson had a legitimate case before the suspension was announced.

Two hours after the suspension was announced, La Russa believed Anderson had a strong case.

Anderson is expected to present his case to Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations, in a conference call. Anderson was suspended for three games after making contact with umpire Tim Timmons during a bench-clearing brawl with the Tigers on Sept. 27, but he had the suspension reduced to two games after contending Timmons shoved him first while not realizing Timmons was an umpire during the scrum.

This time, Anderson’s helmet made contact with Mahrley after he had been tossed, making his case to have his suspension reduced more difficult.

Anderson was suspended for one game in 2019 for his involvement in a fight after getting hit by a pitch from Brad Keller of the Royals.

Meanwhile, Sheets’ homer alleviated much of the frustration that had mounted for six innings. A’s starter Paul Blackburn, who had a 13.19 ERA in his previous three starts, blanked the Sox for five innings. The Sox couldn’t score in the fifth despite putting runners at second and third with no outs. Josh Harrison struck out and splintered his bat after slamming it in disgust. Anderson struck out on a sweeping slider to end the threat.

Despite allowing homers to Sean Murphy and Seth Brown, Cueto kept his teammates within striking distance by retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

Cueto provided the length that La Russa seeks during this grueling stretch that ends Aug. 28. The exception could be Michael Kopech, who is a full-time starter for the first time and has thrown 88 1/3 innings.

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