Before I saw the unclear video footage on Twitter claiming that Tim Anderson was at the airport in Dallas flying back to Chicago, I had to wade through about 500 tweets claiming other places Anderson was spotted.
Alas, the effort to minimize the implications of a premature flight home didn’t work if this report from Russell Dorsey holds up.
(UPDATE: The White Sox indeed placed Anderson on the injured list after Game 1 of today’s doubleheader with a sagittal band tear on his left hand. The team says he will undergo surgery on Thursday and is expected to miss six weeks.)
Anderson injured his hand on a checked swing in ninth inning of Saturday’s loss to the Rangers.
He grounded out to first in a play that was reviewed, and he spent the duration of the challenge tending to his hand. When he started serving the suspension the following day, I’d wondered if it was good timing on the appeal or a strategic move on the White Sox’s part, since Anderson wouldn’t be able to play regardless. Since his suspension was reduced by a game, the answer might be “both.”
If there’s any good news, the shoes Anderson’s currently wearing shouldn’t be that hard to fill. He hit just .249/.287/.290 in 39 games since coming back from the injured list for his strained groin, which is pretty much what Leury García has done over his last 39 games (.237/.273/.290). In terms of production received, it’s like the White Sox have already been playing without Anderson for eight weeks. What’s another four to six?
The other side to this coin is that it robs the White Sox of another source of upside during this stretch run. Whatever García and Lenyn Sosa do, it’s not likely to come close to Anderson at his best.
However, if you’re more confident that Anderson would spend the bulk of the last two months severely compromised, rather than 100 percent, then at least Tony La Russa and the coaching staff are free from the weight of batting-order or playing-time demotions.
From here, the most likely battleground will be the playing time that García receives in his stead. I’d like to see Sosa get a solid week of playing time just to understand what is or isn’t there, but Tony La Russa never passes up an opportunity to get García involved. Here he is starting at short in Game 1 of the doubleheader.
To me, the argument isn’t so much about whether García or Sosa should be playing, because I understand a manager preferring the veteran option over a prospect who may still require upper-minors finishing for a crucial stretch of games, as much as I’d rather see him explore the unknown.
Regardless, if García is the unquestioned starting shortstop, it seems like the White Sox would be better off finding another infielder who can sit two months on an MLB roster and thank the team for the privilege. There’s an internal option in Cohoes’ Zach Remillard, and Andrelton Simmons was just DFA’d by the Cubs, to name a couple.