Updates: Tim Anderson puts power in his American League rankings

Tim Anderson painting
Tim Anderson (Carl Skanberg)

If the White Sox are able to capitalize on this upswing, it’s going to be a lot of fun having Tim Anderson in the middle of it all.

And if the White Sox come up short, AL Central rivals are going to have fun sticking the Stick Talk to him.

Baseball is entertainment, and Anderson is wasting no time entertaining. At the start of the week, he said the White Sox were “way more athletic than [the Minnesota Twins], and that’s just true facts.”

The White Sox have sometimes struggled to translate a team full of impressive builds into a team with an impressive record, but the rest of what Anderson said that day conveyed enough due respect.

“We have to go out and prove it,” Anderson said. “We have to go out and be dominant. They have the same guys over there. We are motivated, and I’m sure they are motivated, and we are going to go head-to-head and see what happens. We have a pretty good shot of whupping on them.

“They are no worries, either. They put on their pants just like we do.”

After starting the work week with some mild bulletin-board material, he capped it off with a more memorable quote on 670 The Score’s “Parkins & Spiegel” show, which was coaxed out of him after his initial assessment was deemed too transparently diplomatic.

If that outlook is a little too spicy for you, you’ll probably want to stick with Yasmani Grandal’s more pragmatic weltanschauung.

“Yeah, it’s always good to have high expectations, but we need to understand that the World Series is six months away or so — we need to stay in the moment,” the White Sox catcher said. “We need to understand that, yes, we can look forward to that, but we need to make sure we’re in the here, we’re working towards a goal — we’re not just thinking about it.”

* * * * * * * * *

Sports radio played a big part in the White Sox’s biggest news on Friday. In a separate segment on 670 The Score’s “Mully & Haugh,” La Russa confirmed that Michael Kopech will start the year in a bullpen.

“[Garrett] Crochet, Kopech, the organization’s attitude is what’s best now,” La Russa now. “There’s no doubt that Kopech, and probably, possibly Crochet as a starter later, but for this year, for them and for us, it’s important that they start the year in the bullpen. That makes it deeper and deeper.”

On a related note, while Liam Hendriks wants to pitch in 81 games, La Russa stressed the importance of load management, and how the bullpen’s depth will make it possible to mix in other options for save situations without pressure. Between Kopech, Crochet, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Codi Heuer, he shouldn’t be at a loss for an arm.

* * * * * * * * *

Health updates:

*Jose Abreu reported to camp, saying he tested positive for COVID-19 in January, but feels no aftereffects from the illness.

*Yasmani Grandal will not play in the first two games of Cactus League play after twisting his knee in drills, so Zack Collins will get the first chance at using the vacancy as a showcase.

*La Russa announced the pitchers for Sunday’s opener:

(Tim Anderson portrait by Carl Skanberg)

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mikeyb

Next piece of Sox Machine merchandise needs to be a t-shirt that says “Fuck it we the best team in the league.”

lifelongjd

Some Kopech and Crochet is better than none, I reckon. Here’s hoping that they aren’t needed in the rotation. Seems short sighted to be relying on Rodon or Lopez to be the 5th starter on a consistent basis, but we’ll see how it plays out.

shaggy65

I have no issue with Kopech spending a year in the bullpen if that’s in his best interest. I DO have a problem with our rotation depth being nearly non-existent. If this was the plan for MK all along then the Sox were being even more short-sighted than we all thought.

jhomeslice

It should be obvious to all within the first month what astute Sox fans already know, that the Sox do not have a major league quality 5th starter unless it is Kopech. He might only be good for 4 innings or so, but better to get quality innings from him than lose every 5th game with the disaster duo of those other 2. Kopech may start the year in the pen, that does not mean he will stay there. He is 2 1/2 years removed from surgery. Guys come back strong from that injury a year sooner than he has, and are not held to like 100 innings. He should be good for 4 or 5 innings in a short time, even if they keep him from going longer than that. A good bet he will be their 5th starter sooner than people think.