DETROIT — Tim Anderson is taking ground balls, and he took batting practice with the White Sox on Friday, hitting two balls over the wall at Comerica Park.
That seemed to be a good sign that his strength will be there when he returns from hand surgery, but he was somewhat measured about sharing a target date he might have in mind for rejoining the team.
“I want to make sure I’m 100% when I do come back,” Anderson said, talking with the media for the first time since he tore the sagittal band on the middle finger of his left hand while checking his swing Aug. 7 in Texas. “Make sure I have all my strength, for sure.”
General manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday that Anderson could return next week. Elvis Andrus, with his steady defense, veteran presence and .308/.351/.539 hitting line with six home runs in 25 games in his absence, has more than softened the blow of losing an All-Star and batting champ, and the biggest question seems to be how Andrus will adjust to second base if he’s moved to a position he hasn’t played during his career.
“He’s been playing pretty well,” Anderson said. “It’s been fun to watch. He just brings something different to the game, and he’s been competing.”
There’s no question, though, that Anderson, batting .301/.339/.395 with six homers in 79 games, will return at shortstop.
“Heck, yes,” acting manager Miguel Cairo said. “I don’t think there’s any problem with that. He’s definitely our shortstop.”
As for whether Anderson would lead off — Andrus is excelling in that spot, too — Cairo said, “Right now, just one day at a time. Right now, it’s Elvis. When he comes back, we’ll see what we can do. Believe me, we need that bat, and he comes back and he’s got that bat that we need, it’s big.’’
Anderson will need a short rehab stint, and with the regular season ending Oct. 5, he might be back in time for 10 games or so.
“For the most part, it’s just about how I feel really; that’s where we’re at,” he said. “The more I feel comfortable, the better chance for me to get back in there.”
Robert misses second straight start
Center fielder Luis Robert (sore left wrist) was held out of the lineup for a second consecutive game. He entered as the runner on second base to start the 10th inning.
“He’s doing good,” Cairo said. “We just want to give him another day. Just got to wait to see how he feels.”
Manager Tony La Russa isn’t with the team as he awaits medical clearance. Cairo said he doesn’t need definitive word from the front office that he’s going to finish the season as manager or if La Russa will return.
“No, I’m just doing my job,” he said. “I’m the bench coach. Because of medical reasons, I’m the manager, interim manager. I just go day to day. We prepare. When he comes back, he’s going to be the manager, and I’m going to do my duties. It doesn’t change anything.”