GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Tim Anderson smiled Tuesday when he was asked about the potential impact soon-to-be teammate Jimmy Rollins could have on his career.
Though the signing of Rollins to a minor-league deal on Monday could influence his immediate playing time, Anderson’s focused on the big picture. Both he and second-year man Tyler Saladino said Tuesday they intend to take general manager Rick Hahn’s message -- that Rollins’ addition could really benefit their career -- to heart.
Rollins, who would earn $2 million if he makes the big league club this season, is expected to arrive in big league camp on Thursday. Anderson can’t wait to take the field with the former National League Most Valuable Player.
“I may get star-struck when I see him,” Anderson said. “It’s a guy I look up to, and I’m really looking forward to working with him.
“Just working with him and learning a lot from him, I’m pretty sure he can teach me a lot.”
“(Rick) was just saying take advantage and learn a lot. Ask anything you need.”
The White Sox see the addition of Rollins as a move with several layers.
They’re without Alexei Ramirez for the first time in eight seasons, which means playing time is up for grabs. And all the candidates to assume the starting role don’t have much major league experience. So on the one hand, Rollins, a four-time Gold Glove winner, could become the team’s starter, if he’s still capable.
But there’s also the other aspect, what Rollins brings in the form of leadership and in the clubhouse. The White Sox are intrigued on both ends.
“Just having a guy who has been that guy before that both Saladino, Tim and our other young players can see how he goes about his business, keeps his body in shape for a full season, how he prepares for games will be beneficial,” Hahn said.
Rollins handled a similar role last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, working with their top prospect, Corey Seager, before Seager ultimately took over.
“Mentor type guy that you can trust and be able to teach the young guys,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We know where he’s at in his career. He knows where he’s at himself. That’s a role he’s taken on before.”
Saladino said Ventura spoke to him as they exited the field on Monday and he urged him to continue to be himself in camp. Even though circumstances have changed, the White Sox want Saladino to maintain the same approach he planned to bring to spring training.
They hope he embraces Rollins’ presence and soaks up whatever he can. For his part, Saladino sounds prepared to follow that plan.
“Pretty much just keep doing what you’re doing,” Saladino said. “It’s just exciting. Who wouldn’t be excited about getting to work with a guy like that? As far as the competition side of it, you can’t veer off what you do every day.
“A guy like him, his experience and the level he has played at for so long, it’s going to be an honor to be out there working with him.”