The straw that stirs the Chicago White Sox’s drink in Tim Anderson is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. However, his name might not be on every lineup card for each game down the stretch run toward the postseason.
Anderson was on the 10-day disabled list since September 1 due to a hamstring issue and while Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick have filled in admirably, manager Tony La Russa knows how valuable having Anderson on the field means to the team.
"“No disrespecting them, but Tim is one of the best out there,” La Russa told the press. “When he plays it helps spark everybody. Now, he’s doing it in the dugout as a cheerleader, but it’s not the same as when he plays. Getting him back will be a big boost for us.”"
A big boost might be an understatement. Prior to his IL stint, Anderson’s last 15 games saw him go 24 for 70 at the plate with a slash line of .343/.352/.600 with four homers and 12 runs batted in. Despite how much the Sox would love to have Anderson provide that type of spark every day as they make their way toward the playoffs, La Russa will ease his All-Star back into the mix so as to not aggravate his injury.
It is the same way that La Russa handled the return of Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert from their injuries. The Hall of Fame manager will pick his spots to play Anderson and treat his playing time as if it was spring training.
Tim Anderson’s return will give the Chicago White Sox even more depth in the lineup.
Anderson’s return means that he will be taking over the leadoff duties from Robert who was more than a capable fill-in. Robert hit .311 from the top spot with a .326 OBP. In the “good problem to have” category for LaRussa, he must now try to figure out where to put Robert and hot-hitting Yoan Moncada in the order.
Over his last 15 days, Robert has gone .358/.382/.604 with three homers and nine RBI, while Moncada was in the two-hole and hit .281 in 96 at-bats. Over the last 30 days, Moncada is hitting a scorching .337.
The addition of Anderson is not the only good news on the injury front as Lucas Giolito is also expected to start on the mound Tuesday night for the first time since August 31 when he had to leave the game due to hamstring tightness. Giolito’s return follows that of Lance Lynn who came back on Sunday after being out since August 28 with inflammation in his knee.