Acting manager Miguel Cairo envisioned a Chicago White Sox lineup featuring both Tim Anderson and Elvis Andrus.
That won’t happen this season. Cairo said Tuesday the Sox will “shut it down” for the remainder of 2022 with Anderson, who has been recovering from a sagittal band tear in his left middle finger.
“I think it’s the best thing for him,” Cairo said before Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. “You don’t want him to re-injure that. He’s still doing a lot of work on the treatment and stuff like that. He needs to get 100% for next year.”
The All-Star shortstop hasn’t played since Aug. 6, when he suffered the injury on a checked swing during a ninth-inning at-bat against the Texas Rangers.
Anderson briefly grimaced after checking his swing on the second pitch of the at-bat and looked at his left hand before grounding out to third on the next pitch. He went on the injured list Aug. 9.
He received clearance Sept. 13 to ramp up baseball activities and had been taking batting and fielding practice.
“It’s running out of time and it would be different if we were in the hunt for (the) playoffs, of course,” Cairo said. “But it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The Sox were eliminated from contention for the American League Central title Sunday, with the Cleveland Guardians clinching the division. They entered Tuesday trailing the Seattle Mariners by 7½ games for the final AL wild-card spot with an elimination number of three.
Anderson slashed .301/.339/.395 with 13 doubles, six home runs, 25 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 79 games this season. He made his second All-Star appearance in July at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after being voted a starter for the first time.
“You see his numbers, he was dealing, he was hitting good, he was playing good defense,” Cairo said. “He was the guy that got us going in the leadoff spot. He really got us going. We miss that.
“It would have been nice to see him (leading off) and Elvis hitting second. Two guys who can run with the big boys in the back. It would’ve been nice.”
Andrus, who signed with the Sox on Aug. 19 after the Oakland Athletics released him, entered Tuesday slashing .292/.329/.465 in 34 games since he began filling in for Anderson.
“Elvis did an excellent job bringing leadership, bringing that energy to the field, to the leadoff spot,” Cairo said. “Something that we’ve been missing since Tim got hurt. It was good to have him.”
Asked about right-hander Michael Kopech possibly making another start this season, Cairo said, “As of right now, I don’t think so.”
Kopech has been on the IL since Sept. 17 with right shoulder inflammation.
“The shoulder is doing well,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of Kopech on Saturday. “Everything is progressing nicely. He obviously had an issue with the (right) knee (earlier), which was caused by a baker’s cyst, some sort of cyst in the knee. There has been some discussion about the appropriate time to have that cyst removed so in the future it’s not going to flare up as it did unexpectedly this year.
“That’s where conversations are right now. The shoulder is good. At some point we are probably going to address the knee and send him into the offseason ready for next year without restrictions.”
Kopech is 5-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts as he returned to the rotation this season after spending most of last season as a reliever.
“He pitched well,” Cairo said. “(To) give us five, six innings. He shut down, if you remember the games against the Yankees (allowing three runs on two hits in 13 innings during two May starts). He threw seven (in the second game of a May 22 doubleheader against the Yankees) and it was like they couldn’t even touch him.
“If you see Michael like that for a season, the season growth from last year to this year, you can see it next year from Kopech.”
Before Tuesday’s game, the Sox placed catcher Seby Zavala on the seven-day concussion list and recalled catcher Carlos Pérez from Triple-A Charlotte. The Zavala move is retroactive to Monday.
“(Sunday’s) game, right after the game, he was feeling a little dizzy and went to the trainer, did all the protocol,” Cairo said. “We’re better to be safe.”