It was just a cramp.
On a day to forget for White Sox pitchers — they walked 11 batters and hit three more in a 7-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds — there looked like there might have been an unfortunate reason to pay attention in the late innings, when shortstop and MVP candidate Tim Anderson grabbed at his hamstring after wincing on a swing in the seventh.
Manager Rick Renteria and the trainer came out to check on Anderson, and a long conversation ensued, with Renteria eventually convincing Anderson to come out of the game.
Not long after, word came from the White Sox: Anderson departed with a cramp in his hamstring and is day to day.
After the game, Renteria provided an update.
"He actually didn’t want to come out," he said. "It was a cramp. It had loosened up, and we asked him to take a swing, he took it, then it spasmed again. So it was best to get him out of there.
"We’ll see how he’s doing on the flight from here to (Cleveland) and see him in the afternoon tomorrow, see where he’s at. If there’s any doubt about how he’s doing, we’ll take a cautious approach with how we use him. He’s day to day.
"There’s no imaging at this point, as far as I know, that’s needed. It really looks like a cramp, and it started to soften up a bit after we took him out."
The White Sox obviously can't afford to be without one of their best players, one of the best players in baseball this season, as they move into their first playoff series in a dozen years beginning Sept. 29. Anderson went 0-for-3 Sunday, but he's just one point behind the New York Yankees' DJ LeMahieu for the top batting average in the American League, which would net him a second straight batting title. He leads the Junior Circuit in runs scored and ranks near the top in numerous other offensive categories, making him a legitimate MVP candidate.
It doesn't sound like it will come to that, if it's just a cramp, but don't be surprised if Renteria plays things cautiously as the White Sox head to Northeast Ohio for a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians. That could allow him to make sure Anderson is at full strength for the beginning of the playoffs.
"If I’m 100-percent sure he’s good, he’ll be in (the lineup)," Renteria said. "If there’s any doubt, we’ll make an adjustment."