KANSAS CITY, Mo. — White Sox All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson will be out six weeks after going on the injured list Tuesday with a sagittal band tear on the middle finger of his left hand. He’ll have surgery Thursday.
Anderson was injured checking his swing on the second pitch of his last at-bat Saturday against the Rangers and returned to Chicago on Sunday night to have it examined by doctors.
“Huge blow,” said starting pitcher Lance Lynn, who took the loss as the Royals beat the Sox 4-2 in the first game of the doubleheader Tuesday. “He’s one of our All-Stars and one of our leaders.”
The Sox have become accustomed to dealing with injuries, but this is another big loss that threatens to thwart an August/September push to overcome the Twins in the American League Central. The lineup just last week got its core group of Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert together for the first time this season.
“It’s definitely tough to hear,” right-hander Lucas Giolito said. “But we’ve been dealing with that kind of stuff all year. We have some guys who can kind of pick up the slack. [Second baseman Josh Harrison] has been doing an amazing job defensively and offensively. It’s just another blow we have to get over. Continue to play good baseball.”
The Sox haven’t played consistently good baseball, though, and have struggled offensively all season. Anderson, named to his second All-Star Game, is usually their igniter at the top of the lineup, although he has struggled since the All-Star Game and was 0-for-13 with six strikeouts in the Rangers series. Anderson’s hitting line shrunk to .301/.339/.395 with six home runs and a .734 OPS, and he has only one homer since May 22.
“He’s obviously the energy of our team and batting in the leadoff spot,” Giolito said. “We have a good group of guys even if we lose someone as important as Tim to get the job done.”
Anderson’s injury went largely unnoticed Saturday. And a six-week timetable from surgery extends his absence to Sept. 22, and a minor-league rehab assignment before returning to the field would be needed. The Sox play the Twins in six of their last nine regular-season games, starting Sept. 27 at Minnesota. The regular season ends with the Sox hosting the Twins on Oct. 5.
This will be the second chunk of significant time Anderson is out. A strained right groin sidelined him from May 30 till June 20. The Sox are 14-17 in games when Anderson doesn’t play.
AJ Pollock, batting leadoff in Anderson’s spot Tuesday, was hitting .418/.448/.618 with two homers in 12 games batting first this season. Pollock has started more games, 207, at leadoff than any other spot in his career with a .292/.350/.481 batting line before Tuesday.
Leury Garcia figures to get the most time at shortstop in Anderson’s absence. Lenyn Sosa was called up from Triple-A on Sunday to provide backup protection for the infield and was expected to return to Charlotte when Anderson returned from a two-game suspension, but now Sosa likely will stay longer.
Sosa played second base in the Sox’ 3-2 victory in the second game of the doubleheader, went 2-for-4 and hit his first career homer. He also can play shortstop.
“The list kind of goes on and on this year,” Giolito said. “Some little injuries, some bigger ones, some surgeries. It’s just how it goes.”
Through it all, Giolito said the state of the clubhouse has been good.
“Yeah, we’ve been having a good time,” he said. “During a rough time, you’re not going to have the highest spirits, but we have a very good grasp on knowing what we need to do to play to our highest potential. We keep seeing little flashes here and there. It’s a matter of doing it consistently.”