TA 'no longer trying to prove anything' in '23

March 27th, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With Opening Day just days away, is entering his eighth Major League season -- all with the White Sox -- as the longest-tenured player on the South Side of Chicago.

While keeping that service time and his wide array of accomplishments in mind, the two-time All-Star shortstop is done focusing upon proving himself to others at the big league level.

“[It’s] more so proving it to myself now to see how good I can be,” Anderson said ahead of the club’s 4-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday. “It’s more personal than trying to show that I can be a shortstop. If you don’t think I can be a shortstop, then it’s cool.

“You could go back off the last four or five years -- if that’s not enough, then what are you searching for? So I’m just doing me and having fun and enjoying the game and [living] my best life. I’m working on myself to go out and get better and proving things to myself and trying to bring wins to the fans. Other than that, I’m no longer trying to prove anything.”

Anderson’s individual defense at shortstop comes alongside a level of offensive production that has led to a combined .318 average, an .820 OPS, 51 home runs, 85 doubles, 53 stolen bases and an American League batting title since the 2019 season.

Eddie Rodriguez, the new White Sox third base and infield coach, has been a major help for Anderson in making sure his fielding is just as strong.

“Yeah, he has helped me, just in how we take ground balls and some new drills he does,” Anderson said. “I’m not just taking 100 ground balls, we are actually doing drills so it’s split up in times and focus.

“It definitely helped me dig into how I field a ground ball or why I am fielding it this way or how I’m doing it or where the glove needs to be. I’m locked in and learning a lot more.”

Despite being a supremely confident player, Anderson has no problem admitting shortcomings needing to be fixed.

“I know I ain’t sorry. I’m just saying, I know that I don’t [stink],” Anderson said. “It’s easy to say I need to get better, and that’s good. If you aren’t getting better each and every day … I’m sure even the greatest come to the field to get better every day.

“I’m OK with saying I need to work on defense. I need to work on offense as well. That’s getting good pitches to hit consistently. So, it’s constantly trying to get better.”

The Tim Anderson of 2023 is a different player, a different person, than the Anderson of his MLB debut in ‘16, or of the first of what will be six Opening Day starts at shortstop in ‘17. He’s still the driving force of this team, but he knows more about the game and knows more about life now.

“As you get better, you grow. As you practice, that builds confidence,” Anderson said. “Getting better each year obviously helped me build my confidence, so I do feel different going into each year.”

Giolito finishes on a high note
struck out six and allowed one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. It was a good way for Giolito to end his Cactus League work and move into the regular season, where he will start Chicago’s third game Saturday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Giolito featured more of a fastball/changeup approach when he first broke out in 2019, but he has shown a four-pitch mix over the past two seasons.

“It’s part of being in this league for a while. You’ve got to adapt and grow and I’m taking pride in my ability to adapt,” Giolito said. “At this point in my career, I think it’s important that I use all my weapons.

“There will be days where that fastball-changeup combo might be working really well and we abuse it. But in general, having stuff that’s going this way too has been very effective in these spring starts, making sure we’re mixing that in. … Just commanding pitches and mixing it all up has been good.”