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White Sox have spot for ex-Wildcat

Citizen Staff Writer



Former University of Arizona outfielder Brian Anderson and the Chicago White Sox were back in Tucson for spring training – if only for a couple of days.

The White Sox beat Colorado 4-1 at Hi Corbett Field on Thursday. They face the Arizona Diamondbacks at Tucson Electric Park at 1:05 p.m. Friday.

It is the club’s first visit to the Old Pueblo since leaving its TEP workout area of the last decade for a fancy new spread in Glendale.

“I don’t miss the field, but I miss Tucson,” said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, who often complained about the strong winds at TEP. “I love the city. I am the only one who really misses Tucson. This is outstanding. I found a place to eat. I enjoy the years I was here. I had a great time here.”

Chicago left after the White Sox agreed to pay a $5 million penalty to Pima County for breaking a lease that bound the team to TEP through 2012.

The White Sox share their new complex with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Their new training complex has more than 118,000 square feet of clubhouse space, with 13 full baseball fields and three half-fields, along with walking trails, landscaped grounds, an orange grove and a lake stocked with fish between the Dodgers and White Sox facilities.

“It is very nice what we have up there, but it is sad we are not here,” said Anderson, who also starred at Canyon del Oro High School. “I took coming here for granted.”

Anderson comes back under different circumstances.

The former 2003 first-round pick is expected to be on the opening day roster, unlike years’ past when he was on pins and needles until the very last cuts.

“He will make the team,” Guillen said. “I don’t know if he is going to be a starter, but he will be with the ballclub unless something crazy happens. We need him to play well. Last year he played really well.”

Anderson, who played in 109 games a year ago and hit .232, is not just going to coast the rest of the spring knowing he has a spot. There is no reason for him to stand pat after struggling to a .221 batting average in 597 career at-bats.

“I appreciate the confidence (Guillen) has in me, but at the same time I don’t want to take it for granted,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to have him make excuses for me. I want to go out and play and do what I have to do.”

Anderson has hit .333, .309, .292 and .365 in the past four spring trainings.

“I’ve hit all right in the spring, but it will be interesting this time because I’m working on things,” Anderson said. “It seemed like last year I was able to really drive the ball to right center, but I was having a hard time hitting pitches inside.

“I’m not going to care as much about results until I break it down. I want to leave spring training more dangerous and good every time out of the box.”

There is no doubting Anderson’s range and throwing ability. He often replaced Ken Griffey Jr. a year ago as a late-inning defensive specialist.

His most noted play came in the American League Central Division’s one-game playoff against Minnesota when he sprawled out to grab an Alexi Casilla line drive for the final out.

“I’m just working fresh and trying to prove myself all over again,” Anderson said.


Friday: White Sox at D’backs, 1:05, Tucson Electric Park; Rockies at Angels, Tempe

More baseball, 3C

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