I learned of Tim Anderson not hustling through three different mediums in less than one week’s time.
I wasn’t able to watch the game between the White Sox and the Royals when he failed to run out a line drive to third that the umpire thought had been trapped rather than caught. On MLB Network’s highlight show, I saw Ricky Renteria’s angry reaction to Anderson standing in the batter’s box while the Royals third baseman made the throw to first. Anderson was removed from the game after that, justifiably so.
Later in the week, again unable to watch on television, I read online that Anderson appeared to not be hustling around third base, and as a result he was thrown out at home in a close game against the Rays. Renteria came to his rescue, alluding to Anderson playing hurt. I believe that attempt to bail Anderson out by saying he’s playing through pain is interesting because I have had the opportunity to catch all of the games the Sox have played recently, the aforementioned notwithstanding. In those games, Anderson was moving laterally, running in on softly hit balls, and breaking back on balls hit to shallow left field with what appeared to be no problem at all. If he is in such pain or discomfort that he can’t run to first base or go hard to score in a close game, it seems it would be very difficult for him to move in all four directions defensively as smoothly as he has.
Lastly, I was listening to the game on the radio yesterday. Darrin Jackson and Ed Farmer have no problem hiding their disgust when a player doesn’t go hard, especially a Sox player. Anderson struck out on a dropped third strike with no one on first base and failed to run to first. They called Anderson out for it, with exasperation and a tint of anger in their voices. Good for them.
He seems to be a part of the “core” of the young Sox; a piece that will be around when the Sox finally win again. Teddy Greenstein, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, called Anderson a “cornerstone of the franchise” in the same article where Renteria defended Anderson for a lack of hustle a day after benching him for a lack of hustle.
Yoan Moncada is already here. Eloy Jimenez is coming. Hopefully Luis Robert and Zack Collins aren’t far behind. Are they going to learn their in game work ethic from watching Anderson? Harsh question, but one the organization needs to contemplate.
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