CLEVELAND -- Elvis Andrus knows about winning, and the veteran shortstop also knows about postseason success.
His .266 batting average, 21 runs scored and nine stolen bases over 191 postseason plate appearances with the Rangers support that theory. So, the 33-year-old, right-handed hitter is excited to join a White Sox team in playoff contention after playing the first 106 games with a fully rebuilding Oakland club sitting 33 games under .500 during the 2022 season.
“That’s where you pray every single year being in this opportunity,” said Andrus before his White Sox debut against the Guardians Friday at Progressive Field. “We were in a rebuilding type of year. It’s always a tough one, especially for me.
“I want to be in this environment. I want to be competing for the playoffs. Everyday counts, meaningful games. I am really happy and pumped up to be here. Try to do the most I can to help the team to keep winning.”
The signing of Andrus to a contract for the remainder of the 2022 season became official Friday, after Andrus was released by the A’s on Aug. 17. To make room for Andrus on the active roster, the White Sox optioned infielder Lenyn Sosa to Triple-A Charlotte. Sosa, Chicago's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was 4-for-35 over two stints in the Majors this season.
Andrus slashed .237/.301/.373 (84-for-354) with 24 doubles, eight home runs, 30 RBIs, 41 runs scored and seven stolen bases with Oakland this season. In 21 games after the All-Star break, Andrus was slashing .286/.324/.443, including a 3-for-4 showing with a solo homer and three runs scored on July 29 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He will fill the gap at shortstop with Tim Anderson out of action, as the AL’s starting All-Star shortstop suffered a sagittal band tear on the middle finger of his left hand and underwent surgery to repair the injury on Aug. 11. Anderson was initially expected to miss approximately six weeks, which would take his return to near the end of the 2022 regular season.
Leury Garcia, whose natural position is shortstop, also was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a lower back strain. Romy Gonzalez remained on the White Sox roster, with his versatility benefitting the team.
“We all around here compliment the front office,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s not like Sosa is not a talented guy. He’s just not ready yet.
“To try to fill Tim’s shoes, someone like Elvis, with the A’s, he just played. He’s got a lot of game left. He plays the whole game, still fields well, can run the bases, he has a knack for getting hits against good pitchers. Played in a couple World Series, so we’re thrilled to get him here.”
Wearing jersey No. 1, Andrus started behind Lance Lynn, who he played with in Texas. The double play combination of Andrus and Josh Harrison, seen during part of the ’21 season with Oakland, also returned on Friday night.
It doesn’t hurt that Andrus is a .378 hitter with a 1.015 OPS, seven home runs, 31 runs scored, 24 RBIs and 10 stolen bases over 45 career games at Progressive Field. He is now a full-fledged part of the American League Central race to October.
“Every player has a team that, whenever you face them, everything kind of gets back to normal,” Andrus said. “Even if you are struggling a little bit, you see that team and your swing gets better right away.
“It’s been Cleveland for me. I feel comfortable for some reason. I love hitting here. The ball looks so huge. Really pumped up to start this chapter with the White Sox here in Cleveland and, like I said, do whatever I can to help the team continue to win.”