AL Central Notes: Anderson, Buxton, E-Rod, Manning

MLB Trade Rumors

Over the first 824 games of his Major League career, Tim Anderson had almost exclusively as a shortstop, with a couple of DH days thrown into the mix.  However, Anderson has now made two consecutive starts at second base, as a way of getting the veteran into the White Sox lineup despite some lingering soreness in his right throwing shoulder.  Sox manager Pedro Grifol told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin and other reporters that “all intentions are for [Anderson] to go back to shortstop” eventually, and that the club was monitoring Anderson’s shoulder on a day-to-day basis.

Considering Chicago’s 33-45 record, it can’t be ignored that Anderson’s temporary move to the keystone could also serve as a showcase for any interested trade partners.  As per most public defensive metrics, Anderson has had subpar glovework as a shortstop over the last two seasons, and a move to second base might eventually be required as Anderson (who turned 30 years old two days ago) gets deeper into his career.  A team doubtful of Anderson’s shortstop defense could be more keen on using him as a second baseman, or an ability to shuttle between both positions might also boost the former All-Star’ trade value given how clubs prize versatile players.  That said, offense is a bigger concern than defense for Anderson at this point, since he has struggled to a .241/.279/.282 slash line over 229 plate appearances while missing about three weeks on the injured list with a left knee sprain.  2023 is the final guaranteed year of Anderson’s contract, as the White Sox hold a $14MM club option on his services for 2024.

More from around the AL Central….

  • Byron Buxton left yesterday’s game due to back spasms, which arose while he was trying to beat out a grounder to first base.  Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park and other reporters that Buxton has been bothered by the back problem for much of the season, and that he is day-to-day pending further evaluation though Buxton seemed “to already be feeling a little bit better” following the game.  Buxton has been used exclusively as a DH this season, with the nagging back issues adding to the surgically-repaired right knee that is still causing Buxton issues, and keeping him out of his usual center field position.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez threw 50 pitches during a live bullpen session on Saturday, and afterwards told reporters (including Chris McCosky of the Detroit News) that “everything was perfect — feeling-wise, body-wise, shoulder-wise, finger-wise.”  Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day IL just over a month ago with a pulley rupture in his left index finger, and the unusual nature of the injury made it somewhat difficult to establish a true timeline for his return.  However, McCosky notes that it certainly looks like Rodriguez might be on pace to return to the Tigers rotation prior to the All-Star break, though manager A.J. Hinch said the left-hander will have to make at least one rehab start before being activated from the IL.  Rodriguez has an outstanding 2.13 ERA over 67 2/3 innings for Detroit this season, making him both an important piece for a Tigers team still in the AL Central race, or potentially as a deadline trade chip if the Tigers pivot into seller mode.
  • In other Tigers news, Matt Manning is expected to be activated from the 60-day IL during Detroit’s upcoming series against the Rangers.  Hinch told reporters (including The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen) that the club hasn’t yet decided if Manning will be activated to start on Tuesday or Thursday, as the Tigers are also factoring in whether or not to give Reese Olson an extra day of rest.  Manning has been sidelined since his second start of the season, when he suffered a right foot fracture after being hit by an Alejandro Kirk comebacker to the mound.

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