White Sox

Risky steal attempt another sign Tim Anderson's got his swag back

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AP

Risky steal attempt another sign Tim Anderson's got his swag back

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Anderson’s confidence increasingly continues to return.

The White Sox shortstop chose the right moment to take a big risk when he stole third base in the ninth inning on Wednesday afternoon.

It’s the kind of call that either earns a player kudos if it works or an earful from the manager if it fails. Turns out Anderson’s risky decision to steal third base with All-Star catcher Salvador Perez behind the plate helped the White Sox win their first road series since June. 

Only minutes after a similar play backfired for the Kansas City Royals, Anderson’s steal allowed him to easily score on a go-ahead sacrifice fly by Jose Abreu. The White Sox tacked on another run to topple the Kansas City Royals 5-3 at Kauffman Stadium. 

“He wanted to get there for (Abreu),” manager Rick Renteria said. “A steal of third has to be 100 percent or otherwise it’s fruitless. He had a good feel for it. He wanted to get over there and he did.”

Anderson’s 11th steal in 12 tries was the latest big moment in a resurgent second half. The second-year player slumped through July as he struggled to cope with the May death of close friend Branden Moss. Moss was shot and killed attempting to aide an assault victim outside of a bar near the University of Alabama campus on May 7.

But Anderson has looked much more like himself since he began to see a counselor in late July. Once again, the 2013 first-round draft pick is playing free of restriction and with the kind of confidence he displayed often throughout a rookie campaign in which he produced 2.5 f-Wins Above Replacement.

How else to explain running on Perez — who has thrown out 159 of 470 runners in his career (33.8 percent) — with one of the hottest hitters in baseball on deck? 

If Anderson is thrown out, questions about his thought process with Abreu coming to bat with a man in scoring position are asked. It’s the same type of questions asked on sports talk radio about Kansas City's Alcides Escobar after he made the final out of the eighth inning with the score tied.

But Anderson trusted the instincts that made him a top-50 prospect before the 2016 season and his read of pitcher Scott Alexander’s move. With Yoan Moncada at bat and a 3-2 count, Anderson, who went 2-for-5, his seventh multi-hit game in the last 10, took off running and beat Perez’s throw.

“Really just going off the pitcher,” Anderson said. “He was giving me slow deliveries and I feel like with my speed I was able to get there.”

“I wanted to take it in such a key moment.”

Three pitches later, Abreu drove a fly ball to deep center to bring in Anderson and give the White Sox a 4-3 lead. 

Anderson hasn’t attempted to steal bases at similar rate to what he did in the minors when he was 100 of 128, including in Arizona Fall League play. But he’s been more effective in the majors, swiping 21 of 24 tries (87.5 percent). And the confident Anderson promises this only the beginning as he gets more comfortable with pitchers around the league and their moves.

“It’s just a matter of time before the stolen bases keep coming,” Anderson said. “I was able to get a pretty good jump on it. 

“It’s definitely the more attempts I can get and more comfortable I can get that I feel like I can run more.”

Different feeling in White Sox clubhouse after positive update on Danny Farquhar: 'Something like this really lifts the spirits up'

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AP

Different feeling in White Sox clubhouse after positive update on Danny Farquhar: 'Something like this really lifts the spirits up'

The past couple days were a scary waiting game for the White Sox.

They watched as their teammate was carried out of the dugout and taken to the hospital during Friday night’s game. Before Saturday’s game, they learned he suffered a brain hemorrhage. “Stable but critical” was the update, and they were worried.

But positive news on Danny Farquhar came Monday afternoon, and guys stood at their lockers invigorated by an update that said their teammate was “progressing well.”

“When it happened, we all had that gut feeling in our stomachs, like, ‘What is going on?’ And then some info started coming in, and we were very concerned and worried about his health and his family, especially,” fellow reliever Nate Jones said Monday. “But to get something like this really lifts the spirits up for sure.”

“Over the last 24 hours there’s been a lot of good news,” pitcher James Shields said. “Obviously he’s not out of the water yet, but I think the good news is definitely needed for him and his family. I’m happy that things are going smooth so far.”

Monday’s update included the news that Saturday surgery was successful and that Farquhar was moving his extremities and talking with doctors and his family. His condition was still described as stable but critical, however, and his teammates know he’s not just going to walk back into the clubhouse tomorrow.

He’s been in their thoughts and the thoughts of plenty of other major league players and teams. The White Sox had his jersey hanging in the bullpen during their games Saturday and Sunday. The Tampa Bay Rays had Farquhar’s jersey hanging in their dugout in St. Petersburg over the weekend. The Seattle Mariners, who arrived on the South Side for a three-game set starting Monday, immediately hung Farquhar’s jersey in their dugout. And teams sent good wishes on social media throughout the weekend.

“We have his jersey out there hanging in the bullpen with us because we want to not completely black it out because it actually did happen and he’s one of our brothers. And we want to remember that and try to represent that the best that we can,” Jones said. “You always think about it, it’s always there, but when it’s time to do your job, you try not to think about it and do the best for him.”

“I’ve had text messages from across the league paying their condolences to the family,” Shields said. “Baseball in general is a family. Whether you know somebody or not, you feel for him. We have a brotherhood here. We’re just really supporting him and his family right now. Around the league, that’s great.”

The well wishes and the thoughts and the prayers are still constantly flowing Farquhar’s way from the White Sox clubhouse and clubhouses all over the game. And as part of that, his teammates are also eager to talk about what kind of guy Farquhar is. Monday, they revealed that Farquhar is a fountain of information out in the bullpen. Quizzes seem to be lobbed daily in the direction of the guy they call “Google” and “Statcast.”

“He’s always smiling, laughing, he’s always joking around. We call him ‘Google,’” bullpen-mate Aaron Bummer said. “He’s full of knowledge, man. If we ever need anything, anything about pitching, he does a lot of that analytics stuff. He’s awesome, man. He’s a good resource for everyone, he’s a great resource for me as a rookie and all the young guys. We miss him a lot and wish him well.”

“He knows a lot about everything,” Jones said. “He’s what we would call a ‘stat rat.’ We call him Google, we call him Statcast. He knows a lot, and it’s intriguing. Keeps us loose out in the bullpen, that’s for sure. … Every day we have something for him, talking about spin rates and all that good stuff. We’ve had fun with him.”

That’s been a constant refrain over the past few days, that Farquhar, who’s made a long journey throughout the major and minor leagues to reach this point of a seven-year big league veteran, is a great guy, a funny guy and a joy to be around for his teammates.

So it’s understandable that they want to see him as soon as they can.

“We sent him some texts, telling him that we’re wishing him well, we’re praying for him and our thoughts are with him. I think that at this point in time, that’s pretty much the extend of what we’re able to do,” Bummer said. “Once he kind of progresses a little bit more, I’m sure guys in the clubhouse are going to get over and go see him, but as of right now we’re still respecting the privacy and listening to what the doctors say and praying for the best.”

“Hopefully soon. No one really knows, but we know that he’s got a long road to go,” Jones said. “We’re just praying that it’s soon.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Positive signs for Danny Farquhar

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Positive signs for Danny Farquhar

With news that White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar is making progress after suffering a brain hemorrhage during the game on Friday, Chuck Garfien spoke with his bullpen mate Hector Santiago who provided new information about Farquhar's improving condition. Santiago talks about Danny's fun personality, why he's bringing Farquhar's jersey out to the bullpen every night, the stroke of luck that the incident occurred during a baseball game and more.