Notes: Contention, safety, Anderson's glove

July 3rd, 2020

CHICAGO -- On Day 1 of Summer Camp at Guaranteed Rate Field , White Sox shortstop was ready to tackle the question about whether his squad could reach the 2020 playoffs.

“It’s possible. Anything is possible in 60 games,” Anderson said during a Zoom call Friday afternoon. “You’ve seen the lineup, from top to bottom. You know the names. It’s there.

“All we’ve got to do is go out and continue to play hard every day and pick one another up and take off running when it’s time to go. I think we’ll be just fine then. Yeah, it’s possible. Definitely. We’re definitely not playing for fun.”

The Twins and Indians enter the abbreviated 60-game season as the American League Central favorites. But the White Sox have moved closer to these top two teams than to the rebuilding Tigers and Royals.

Regardless of that positive outlook, general manager Rick Hahn hasn’t changed his frame of mind. The rebuild has never been about a one-season jump, even in a season shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we've tried to do here was never about one specific season,” Hahn said. “It was about building something for the long term and building something sustainable.”

Safely returning to action
Masks were worn around the ballpark by White Sox players, coaches, front-office members and media. Social distancing was practiced on the field, and baseball smoothly returned to Chicago’s South Side.

“Boy, it was just fun this morning to be back out on the field and seeing guys playing catch,” Hahn said. “Today was a was a nice step forward for all of us

“There's going to be challenges along the way and a lot of uncertainty. I'm probably not going be able to answer all your questions today, just because of that uncertainty and the day-to-day nature of all this. But today has been a really nice day so far.”

A few players were practicing their mock celebrations in between bullpens, batting-practice sessions or infield work, with high-fives removed as part of the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

“It’s always going to be fun. It’s always going to be excitement,” Anderson said. “We just try to deal with it the best we can and the best we know how. If it’s celebrating six feet apart, we’ll do that.

“So it’s all about continue to bring that energy. … We are going to continue to bring that excitement and continue to have fun. We are playing the game of baseball. We want to make it look cool and make it fun, even though it’s a short season.”

Anderson ready for a follow-up
Anderson led the Majors in 2019 with a .335 batting average. He picked up right where he left off in Arizona by hitting line drives all over the field Friday during batting practice.

“Man, he looks so good,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He stayed back in Arizona, was working there before he headed back up here to Chicago. This young man is -- he's a man. I think that he's grown so much as a person, as a player. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for him.”

Defense at shortstop was Anderson’s main focus this past offseason and during Spring Training, trying to cut down his Major League-high 26 errors in ’19. He’s going to continue to work on that aspect.

“That’s a part of my game that’s definitely lacking. It ain’t too far behind, though,” Anderson said. “I’m getting to where I need to be. I’m going to continue to learn the game.

“Each and every day, come to the ballpark ready. As I mature and as I grow, it’s going to continue to get better. You’ll see. You have seen it -- all aspects of my game. As long as I continue to get better, continue to grow and continue to learn and work hard, that will come along, as well.”

Third to first
• The White Sox will play three exhibition games before the scheduled start of the season, Hahn said. An announcement of those games will come sometime after the full-season schedule is released.

• A satellite site for the remainder of the White Sox player pool workouts could be announced soon. Hahn said the organization is finalizing a contract.

• Renteria plans to combine his two workout groups soon to start intrasquad games.

• Infielder was not present at the Summer Camp opening workout. He was having travel issues exiting Nicaragua and should arrive next week.