White Sox’ Tim Anderson pushing toward finish of most difficult season

“It’s important to finish strong,” Anderson said. “That should be everybody’s goal. And find something that sticks to help you going into next year.”

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The White Sox’ Tim Anderson owns a 10-game hitting streak.

The White Sox’ Tim Anderson owns a 10-game hitting streak.

Erin Hooley/AP

BOSTON — Tim Anderson likes to say he’ll stop working when he’s dead.

Which is why the 30-year-old White Sox shortstop, as usual, was on the first bus from the team hotel and one of the earlier arrivals to Nationals Park on Wednesday, even for a day game after a night game.

It has been a tough year for Anderson, but he’s pushing — another thing he likes to say — to the end.

“It’s important to finish strong,” Anderson told the Sun-Times. “That should be everybody’s goal. And find something that sticks to help you going into next year.”

Although he has hit only one home run, Anderson is finding his swing and putting points on a batting average that sat as low as .223 at the All-Star break, a stunning development for the 2019 batting champion who led both leagues with a .355 average. He’s batting .294/.355/.365 in the second half after extending his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in three at-bats in a 13-3 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday.

Anderson’s average is up to .252.

“I feel like I’ve been taking some good swings and getting good at-bats,” said Anderson, who had his 16th career four-hit game Monday. “Being able to control the strike zone” is key.

“It’s a feel, you’re just searching for a feel,” he said. “Once you get the feel, everything goes from there. That’s why you work in the cage, to find that feel you always have when it’s going good. Just trying to find it day in and day out.”

Throughout the struggle of a season that was set off course when he sprained his knee in Minnesota in April, Anderson has been an early arrival at the park, getting his work in, taking his swings.

Credit Anderson for staying the course in what has been the worst season of his career, individually and team-wise. The Sox are 68-95 after losing the series to the Nationals and must finish 5-4 in their last three series to avoid 100 losses.

While not the most physical sport, baseball’s day-to-day grind that begins with spring training in February is an endurance test of physical and mental strength.

“It’ll fry you, for sure,” Anderson said. “The average person couldn’t do it because you’re playing a game of failure. It’s a failing sport. You try to do good so you can stay around. And if you don’t, they kick you out. It’s like two lives, real life and the baseball life.”

Whether Anderson’s baseball life continues in a Sox uniform remains to be seen.

He has a club option for 2024 on the six-year, $25 million contract he signed before his arbitration years, and it’s not known if the Sox will pick it up with the intention of playing him or trading him or not pick it up at all.

“I only control what I can control,” Anderson said.

At the very least, Anderson finding a swing that can collect hits in bunches gives the Sox something to think about.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you look up next year and all of a sudden he’s back to the Tim Anderson we’re accustomed to seeing,” general manager Chris Getz said.

“I feel strong. The body feels fine,” Anderson said. “Just trying to finish strong.”

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