White Sox owning ‘terrible’ 2022, shortstop Tim Anderson says

“It was everything, whatever fans and media say, however bad you want to call it. Good, bad and ugly on the field and off the field.”

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Tim Anderson at spring training.

Tim Anderson taking live batting practice at White Sox spring training.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Yes, the White Sox were battered by injuries, All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson’s among them — he played in only 79 games — but there was more to the debacle that was 2022.

“It was everything, whatever fans and media say, however bad you want to call it,” Anderson told the Sun-Times before a spring-training workout Thursday. “Good, bad and ugly on the field and off the field.”

Mostly bad and ugly for a team with high expectations that finished 81-81. Anderson said he owns it, and his teammates are owning it, too.

“We were terrible last year; we get it,” Anderson said. “We get it; it was bad; we didn’t make the playoffs. All of that. But now it’s like, how can we create a new script and not an old script? Because the old will ruin the new.”

Perhaps trying to help create a new one, Anderson instead created a stir Wednesday when he took a treacherous path on an NBC Sports Chicago podcast, saying fans and media should be more positive about what is said and written about the team.

It had the ring of a college coach, and it touched a nerve from fans who endured last season’s huge disappointment.

Anderson said Thursday he was misunderstood.

“If you pay attention to it, I was speaking of being more positive, saying we’re all pulling from the same string,” he said. “Like we’re on the same team. Everybody. We have to be on the same page.”

In any case, the Sox’ clubhouse is not taking the tried-and-true us-against-them page from a motivational textbook, Anderson said. Players in clubhouses everywhere always use some form of chip for motivation. What team in any sport has popped champagne corks after winning a championship without at least one player shouting, “No one believed in us!”

“It’s always been that,” Anderson said. “Last year was just one of those years. We just were not good. Now we have another shot to prove ourselves again, get that energy back and play better, see where it takes us and however far it takes us.

“We played terrible last year. We [stunk]. And now it’s a new year. But I also said moving forward I don’t want to talk about the past, and we have to be positive and be on the same team.”

Anderson started in the All-Star Game, but groin and hand injuries prevented him from meeting his normal standards. He batted .301 after batting .322 in 2020 and .309 in 2021.

“He’s a magician with the bat,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “He can win multiple batting titles. But there’s some power in there, too.”

Anderson was quiet last season, even when he was around the team while on the injured list. This spring, the familiar chatter is back, the sound of an “energizer” he was known for in previous seasons.

“I’m in a better place,” he said. “Definitely, for sure. Every year it gets better. You play, go home and work on yourself and come back and play again. Not just in games but in life, too.”

Meanwhile, Anderson is healthy after ending the season on the IL.

“I feel good. I’m ready to go. Just play,” he said.

From his corner locker, Anderson looked around the clubhouse and saw Lucas Giolito to his left and Eloy Jimenez to his right, a collective 60 pounds lighter.

They want to write new scripts for 2023, too.

“That’s good, in better shape,” Anderson said.

Anderson is lean and muscular, same as always.

“If I lose anything, I might disappear,” he joked. “Trying to keep what I got. I eat whatever I want. I’m so blessed. From all angles. That’s why I’m so thankful. I’ll never trip about anything, ever again.”

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