(670 The Score) As he often is, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was the engine in his team’s win Saturday.
Anderson hit a grand slam in a five-run second inning that propelled the White Sox to a 7-3 win against the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field. His big blast came off Indians right-hander Triston McKenzie, who got wild in issuing four walks in the inning.
"The first at-bat, he put me away with high heaters,” Anderson said of striking out in the first inning before getting his next chance. “That next at-bat, I made sure I was on top of that heater. I didn't miss, and it was a huge hit to help give us some room early in the ballgame.”
Anderson is hitting .310 with four homers, nine RBIs and an .845 OPS this season. Beyond his performance, his fun-loving attitude and energy help spark the team on a daily basis.
"It's all about what he does as an overall player,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He is an igniter on offense. He had a Gold Glove afternoon on defense. The thing I think we all appreciate is he is very vocal. For him, it's about, 'Let's have some fun and play and play hard.’ He is very much a vocal and inspirational teammate.”
La Russa compared Anderson's work ethic to that of basketball icon Michael Jordan.
"He is the same every stinking wonderful day,” La Russa said of Anderson. “He brings effort. He brings a commitment to the practices and everything he does. I hate to do this to him, but he has that commitment and extra gear I saw Michael Jordan have when I watched him practice. I have not seen one day yet where he isn't the, ‘Let's go and make something happen’ person."
Anderson appreciated La Russa comparing him to Jordan.
"I am definitely sold out to the game,” Anderson said. “I will do it the right way and give a thousand percent. Guys like Michael Jordan and Lebron (James) give you the blueprint to be the best. Those are guys who I look up to and follow the journey as well. I want to be the best. I practice that way, and I think that way.”
Anderson has three homers, eight RBIs and 12 runs in 13 games since returning from a hamstring injury on April 15.
“I have just worked on my game to try and beat you at all angles,” Anderson said. “I have worked on my defense and my baserunning as well. I just work every day to be dangerous at the plate.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.