Citizen Staff Writer
Chicago White Sox outfielder Brian Anderson took it for granted what it was like being a major leaguer when he left spring training in 2006 as a first-year starter.
“I admit in ’06 I wanted everything that came along with being a big leaguer without having actually gone out there and proved myself,” the Tucsonan said. “I have switched roles a little bit. I want to show everybody what I am capable of doing.”
Anderson will get his chance after a stellar spring as he was named to the White Sox opening-day 25-player roster as Chicago concluded Cactus League play with an 8-4 loss to Arizona on Thursday.
“We are back on the same page,” Anderson said. “It is easy to point fingers, but it comes down to performance. And if I go out there and play like I have been lately, it will be a lot of fun. This is what I should have done from the beginning. This is how they expected me to play.”
Not only will the former University of Arizona and Canyon del Oro High School standout be with the White Sox when they open the season March 31 against Cleveland, but he could be in the starting lineup in center field with Jerry Owens expected to be placed on the disabled list with a sore groin.
Anderson has played mostly left field or right field in the spring with Nick Swisher or Owens seeing action in center. That’s even though center is Anderson’s natural position.
The White Sox gave Anderson the starting job in center field in 2006 after Aaron Rowand went to Philadelphia.
Anderson hit .225 as a full-time player and then had 17 at-bats a year ago before having his season cut short with a wrist injury following a demotion to Triple-A Charlotte.
“He makes the ballclub; he earned it. I am proud of him,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “B.A. has matured a little bit and it is about time.
“He had a tough couple of years. Brian made my job a little tougher and he got a lot of people in Chicago who wanted to kill him and get on him. He had the opportunity. I appreciate the way he went through his job.”
Making the team does not assure Anderson of remaining with the White Sox, and he knows it.
His .344 spring average will mean nothing when the Indians’ C.C. Sabathia takes the mound on opening day.
“I can make the transfer and try to get off to a good start,” Anderson said. “That is one of the main things for a successful season – if you can get to a hot start.
“The last couple of springs I got off based on ability. In spring training this year even if my average was not there, I feel so good at the plate and the swings I have taken are quality swings.”
Anderson just has to keep swinging and not missing.