Learning curve steep for Anderson

July 19th, 2016

SEATTLE -- The education of continues.

The 23-year-old rookie White Sox shortstop, who was the club's first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2013 Draft, made his Major League debut on June 10 and started out fast, batting .314 with three home runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases in 86 at-bats in the month and looking sharp on defense.

July hasn't been kind to Anderson or the White Sox, however. Anderson entered Monday night's series opener against the Mariners at Safeco Field with a .220 average in July and was hitless in his last 11 at-bats with six hits in his last 32 at-bats before Monday's game.

But Anderson gave the White Sox an early jolt, hitting a home run in the first inning of what became a 4-3 loss when hit a three-run, walk-off home run. That was Anderson's lone hit in four at-bats.

It might be a case of the league adjusting to Anderson, and now Anderson knows he has to adjust back. Fortunately, he's in the Major Leagues, where the tools are available to address that adversity.

"You just have so many sources to go to," Anderson said. "Computer-wise, paper-wise, you just have so much information that you can read up on on an opponent that you're going to face. I've been getting into pickoff moves, how [pitchers are] pitching to righties in different counts. It's very helpful to go into the game, see how a guy delivers, see his pickoff move, see how he goes about his business on the mound.

"It's part of me adjusting using all of the information I have on different guys."

Anderson said he hasn't been overwhelmed at this level because he's always tried to maintain focus on not trying to do too much outside of what got him to the big leagues in such a short time.

His manager, Robin Ventura, has noticed, even during this recent slump.

"He's young," Ventura said. "You're going to see veteran guys do the same thing and have a series that's tough. But again, you stick with him and you know he has it in him, and he'll be fine. Part of it is you have to understand that he's young and he's still learning, and if you expect guys to come up here and it's just smooth sailing, it's not always like that.

"But he's a tough enough kid to handle it."

Staying after it on offense: Entering Monday, the White Sox had gone scoreless in 40 of their last 41 innings playe, so naturally the question had to be asked of Ventura: How, psychologically, does a leader of a team keep spirits up in the midst of such an offensive downturn?

Ventura said it's complicated but centered around belief and confidence that things will turn around.

"I think you're talking to them trying to make sure they don't get too down on themselves, especially when it's that futile," Ventura said. "You can sit there and think you're never going to score and you're never going to do anything, but eventually you've got to get out of it and you're going to score runs.

"But you have to continue to fight through it. You can't sit there and think you're going to bunt your way around and score a bunch of runs. They're going to have to swing the bat and somebody's going to end up hitting a homer.

"When you go through it, it's tough. It doesn't seem like there's light at the end of the tunnel, but there is. That's part of going through a baseball season. You get some times when you play well, and we've shown times when we haven't played well that we haven't hit the ball very well. And you have to fight your way through it."

Rodon coming along slowly: Lefty starter , on the disabled list retroactive to July 6 with a sprained left wrist, began playing catch from 60 feet Saturday, but Ventura indicated that he will most likely not be ready to return on the first day he's eligible, which is at home against the Tigers on July 21.

"He's coming along OK," Ventura said. "I don't think he's coming along as fast as we hoped, but again, it was his first time going out and throwing and getting going, so he's still got a little bit going on in there, and hopefully today we'll find out a little bit more about him other than just feeling something in his wrist."