Flip­per An­der­son hav­ing blasts

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN, STAFF REPORTER dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com @CST_­sox­van

Short­stop Tim An­der­son looks ready for the sea­son to be­gin right now.

Base­ball’s lead­ing hit­ter with a .335 aver­age last sea­son, An­der­son has hit for con­sis­tent hard con­tact in the White Sox’ four in­trasquad games and is slug­ging for power, as well. He blasted two home runs Sun­day, to left-cen­ter field and cen­ter against right-han­ders Evan Mar­shall and Car­son Ful­mer, and has three of the Sox’ 10 long balls.

And, yeah, An­der­son tossed in a bat flip to­ward the home dugout for style points af­ter con­nect­ing against Mar­shall. Gotta prac­tice those in sum­mer camp, too.

“TA is ab­so­lutely pick­ing up where he left off last year,” bench coach Joe McEwing said. “In this en­vi­ron­ment right now, the way he’s grind­ing out at-bats . . . and if he’s down in the count, he’s get­ting back in the count. He’s hit­ting balls hard and driv­ing them to all parts of the field on both sides. De­fen­sively, his jumps have been amaz­ing get­ting off the ball.”

An­der­son, 27, a face of the Sox’ Change the Game cam­paign, has car­ried a torch for mak­ing the game fun, and in the empty ball­park for in­trasquad games, his chat­ter­ing voice has been loud and clear.

“He looks amaz­ing,” McEwing said. “He’s grown into a man, not just on the field but off the field. I couldn’t be hap­pier or prouder of him. It’s like ‘OK, you can leave the nest now. You are on your own.’ I’m proud of him.”

An­der­son hit 18 homers in 123 games last sea­son af­ter hit­ting a ca­reer-high 20 in 2018, when he bat­ted .240.

Vaughn goes deep, too

An­drew Vaughn hooked a home run in­side the left-field foul pole against Gio Gon­za­lez and made a tricky pick of a throw at first base. The 22-year-old No. 3 over­all pick in the 2019 draft has im­pressed since spring train­ing and fig­ures to con­trib­ute next sea­son.

“Noth­ing is sped up on him,” McEwing said. “The way he’s able to con­trol his body in the bat­ter’s box, he could be on time for 105 [mph] or for 85. And it’s im­pres­sive to see, at such a young age, [his] con­sis­tent ap­proach men­tally and phys­i­cally in the box.”

Mazara’s ad­just­ments work­ing

Right fielder No­mar Mazara, who home­red Saturday against Jimmy Lam­bert, has looked good at the plate. The 25-year-old with four years of ex­pe­ri­ence al­ready with the Rangers, for whom he hit 20, 20, 20 and 19 homers, has low­ered his hands in his stance, “stay­ing calm” in the bat­ter’s box and “qui­et­ing” his swing.

“I’ve been work­ing ev­ery morn­ing with [hit­ting coach] Frankie [Menechino],” Mazara said.

“Don’t try to go all crazy in the bat­ter’s box, just keep it sim­ple.”

This and that

Gon­za­lez tipped his cap to an imag­i­nary crowd as he headed to­ward the mound be­fore al­low­ing three runs in three in­nings. Gon­za­lez said his shoul­der re­sponded well to his biggest work­load of 2020.

A day af­ter hit­ting an op­po­site-field homer to left-cen­ter, catcher Zack Collins bounced a ground-rule dou­ble to the same area, walked and sin­gled sharply to cen­ter.

Yer­min Mercedes made a sprawl­ing catch on a liner hit by Eloy Jimenez and drove in two runs with a sin­gle against Gon­za­lez. Mercedes, a catcher, also has played third base in the in­trasquad games.

Man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria is ex­pected back soon, pos­si­bly by Mon­day, af­ter at­tend­ing the fu­neral of a fam­ily mem­ber in Cal­i­for­nia.

GETTY IMAGES

Sox bench coach Joe McEwing says short­stop Tim An­der­son looks amaz­ing. An­der­son hit two home runs Sun­day and has three of the team’s 10 in­trasquad long balls.

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