White Sox keeping tabs on Tigers' moves

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White Sox keeping tabs on Tigers' moves

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Like any other team this time of year, the White Sox are mostly consumed with improving their own roster.

But general manager Rick Hahn admits he is acutely aware of what the Detroit Tigers have done this offseason. The Tigers signed free agent outfielder Torii Hunter last month and are expected to get Victor Martinez back after he missed all of last season with an injury.

Detroit also is in talks to sign their free agent pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, and has been the subject of other speculation. Hahn said hes very aware of what the defending American League champions have done. But he also noted hes happy with how the White Sox, who were in first place for 117 days last season and won 85 games, stack up against their rivals.

We have to be aware of what were chasing, Hahn said. It certainly factors into the team we want to build. We cant look at ourselves and say, as we look around our room and talk to our scouts and coaches and look at our clubs and say maybe were an 80-82 win team. We cant think in good faith thats going to capture the Tigers, given what theyve accomplished and the players theyve added.

Fortunately, we dont look at ourselves that way. We like our team. We like the fact were bringing back Jake Peavy. We like the fact Chris Sale will be a year deeper into his career. Our bullpen will have experience under their belt from last year, that well add our opening day starter from last year John Danks who really didnt factor in much from last year. So we factor in ourselves much better. But we still have some areas we need to improve to compete with the Tigers.

What White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is doing to combat second-year struggles

What White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is doing to combat second-year struggles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Anderson got what sounds like a much-needed day off on Saturday night.

Normally soft-spoken, the White Sox shortstop was even quieter than normal during a pregame media session at Kauffman Stadium. Anderson discussed at length his struggles on and off the field after what has been another few trying days. A day after his mentor Todd Frazier was traded, Anderson bunted into a double play on Wednesday after he failed to quickly get out of the box. He also was surprisingly thrown out on an infield chopper in Friday’s loss, though his manager said that was more about Anderson’s route after he made contact. Either way, Anderson is learning how to handle the grind in a difficult season.

“It’s going to be — it was an up and down season,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned a lot. Just from on a maturity level. And just on the field. I still have to keep working and keep having fun with it.

“It’s easy to lose focus when you are not doing good. It’s something I have to keep grinding through. The game won’t stop for nobody. I have to keep playing.”

Anderson had a trying night during Friday’s four-plus hour affair played in 100-degree plus temperatures. Not only did he fail to beat out the infield chopper in the third, he also had a base running mistake to end the sixth inning. Anderson reached on a one-out single with a line drive to left. But he aggressively tried to advance from first to third on Kansas City pitcher Scott Alexander’s errant pickoff throw not noticing the ball rebounded most of the way back toward first base. Anderson got caught in the middle as Eric Hosmer quickly retrieved the ball and started an inning-ending rundown.

That play came three innings after Anderson hit an infield chopper that Alcides Escobar fielded near third base and fired to first just in time. Manager Rick Renteria said Friday he was a little surprised Anderson wasn’t safe but attributed it to his route out of the batter’s box. Renteria said it’s an adjustment the team is working on with Anderson.

“He's got a tendency to run out of the box, almost like he's going to start rounding a banana, and he does that a lot,” Renteria said. "We're trying to clean him up from going out and creating a straight line. I don't if it's because he ends up finishing his swing, he starts to fall out toward that side. But once he got down there he was busting his butt. I thought he got down there once he got himself back on track and line to try to give himself a chance and beat it out. Was I surprised? Yeah, it was close.”

Anderson said there’s been some discussion about his route from the box to first base but not a ton. He also said it’s an involuntary action.

“I don’t feel it,” Anderson said. “It’s something I’m still working on. I don’t feel it coming out of the box.

“When I get down the line a little bit, I kind of feel it. But I don’t feel it directly when I come out of the box. 

“Sometimes my finish could throw me back a little bit and kind of take me to that route.

“It’s just naturally.”

It’s only natural that Anderson is down about Tuesday night’s deal that sent Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. Frazier has taken Anderson under his wing since the second-year player arrived in the majors last June.

Anderson said Frazier helped him improve his positioning and was a constant presence with their ongoing conversation.

“It’s tough to see people like him go,” Anderson said. “He’s kind of the voice of the locker room. So, it’s kind of, I’m on my own really. Just trying to figure it out myself.” 

Anderson’s had plenty to deal with already this season. The sudden death of his friend, Branden Moss, in May is well documented. He’s also struggled at the plate and in the field as the league adjusts to him. Renteria doesn’t think any one thing is responsible for the toughest year of Anderson’s life as a professional.

“There’s probably multiple factors,” Renteria said. “There are a lot of things going on in his life this year. I think the opponents are adjusting to him a little bit more. I think he’s having to deal with the newness of trying to also make his own adjustments. I’m sure he’s frustrated at times and still trying to kind of put himself in a position where he feels good about how he’s handling his at-bats. The truth is, though that’s the nature of the game of the big leagues.

"We’ve talked about process obviously, but we’ve also talked about, you’re always going to be making adjustments, but you’re also looking at some form of a finality in terms of trying to figure out exactly where you’re at and who you are as a hitter and as a player. And even then, you’re still always evolving, because the game’s always changing; the opponent’s always changing. You’re always having to make adjustments along the way and what will be I believe a very good and long career for Timmy.”

How Yoan Moncada's first hit stacks up against all-time White Sox greats

How Yoan Moncada's first hit stacks up against all-time White Sox greats

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Yoan Moncada broke the seal in a big way on Friday night.

Facing Kansas City’s Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy at Kauffman Stadium, baseball’s top prospect delivered a three-run triple in the top of the third inning to earn his first hit with the White Sox. Moncada’s two-strike, two-out, opposite-field triple to left-center field arrived in his fifth plate appearance with the White Sox.

Below is a chart of how the top 11 White Sox in Wins Above Replacement, according to baseball-reference, notched their first hits.

Player, WAR

date | venue | inning | outs | opponent | pitcher | result | plate appearance

Luke Appling, 74.5 WAR

9/10/30 | Comiskey Park | B7 | 1 out | Red Sox | Danny MacFayden | 1B | third PA

Frank Thomas, 68.2 WAR

8/3/90 | County Stadium | T7 | 2 outs | Brewers | Mark Knudson | 3B | seventh PA

Eddie Collins, 66.6 WAR

4/14/1915 | Sportsman’s Park III | N/A | N/A | STL Browns | Carl Weilan | 1B | N/A

Nellie Fox, 46.95 WAR

5/18/50 | Comiskey Park | B7 | 1 out | Senators | Sid Hudson | 1B | fifth PA

Minnie Minoso, 41.36 WAR

5/1/51 | Comiskey Park | B1 | 1 out | Yankees |  Vic Raschi | HR | first PA

Robin Ventura, 39.37 WAR

9/12/89 | Memorial Stadium | T4 | 2 outs | Orioles | Ben McDonald | 1B | third PA

Luis Aparicio, 35.28 WAR

4/17/56 | Comiskey Park | B7 | 1 out | Indians | Bob Lemon | 1B | third PA

George Davis, 33.09 WAR

1902 | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A

Fielder Jones, 31.81 WAR

1901 | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A

Carlton Fisk, 28.8 WAR

4/10/81 | Fenway Park | T3 | 1 out | Red Sox | Dennis Eckersley | 1B | second PA