Flipper Anderson having blasts
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.
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.