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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Daryl Van Schouwen

Tim Anderson dropped from leadoff spot, then doesn’t finish White Sox’ 11-inning victory

Tim Anderson takes the throw as Jose Caballero steals second base Friday night in Seattle. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hasn’t been much of a spark in his customary leadoff spot, so manager Pedro Grifol dropped him to second in the lineup Saturday against the Mariners and moved Andrew Benintendi to leadoff.

Benintendi reached base in all six of his plate appearances, but the experiment lasted all of 3½ innings as Anderson left the Sox’ 4-3 victory in 11 innings with soreness in his right shoulder.

Zach Remillard, who was playing his first major-league game after entering for Anderson in the fourth, took over Anderson’s spot in the lineup and reached base all four times up, driving in the tying and winning runs in the ninth and 11th innings. So it all worked out.

And Anderson was in good spirits, like everyone else in the visitors’ clubhouse, but declined to talk with the media after what Grifol called ‘‘our best win of the year.’’ He seemed relatively fine and might be well enough to play in the rubber game of the series Sunday.

‘‘Tim, his shoulder got a little sore,’’ said Grifol, who along with trainer James Kruk talked with Anderson in the dugout after he was doubled off first base on a foul pop fly to end the third. ‘‘I think he did it pregame out there stretching, throwing, and he toughed it out for three innings. It’s cold out here. He toughed it out, and the evaluations were good. He’s day-to-day, and we’ll see how he wakes up [Sunday].’’

It marked the first time since Sept. 29, 2019, that Anderson — the American League batting champion that season who was batting .251/.289/.295 entering the game Saturday — didn’t lead off. It broke a streak of 299 starts in the top spot.

‘‘I think it helps our club,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘[Benintendi] has a high on-base [team-high .347], [and] TA uses [the right] side of the field really, really well. The idea is for [Benintendi] to be on base, TA to use that side, us go first to third and get the big boys up with men in scoring position and them on the bases.’’

Anderson hasn’t hit a home run this season, and his 65.7% ground-ball rate leads qualified hitters in the major leagues. He hit into a double play after Benintendi reached on an error in the first.

Grifol said he thinks Anderson’s numbers are due in part to the sprained knee he suffered in April.

‘‘I just think the injury in Minnesota has really affected him,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘It sent him into mechanical changes without him even knowing. When you’re wearing a brace and you’ve never worn a brace, your body’s doing something different because you’re wearing it. You take it off, and your body continues to do those things. You try to find yourself.’’

Grifol said Anderson took the news of his move to the No. 2 spot well.

‘‘It’s not a dictatorship,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘I want guys comfortable playing the game. Doesn’t mean we won’t do things when they’re a little bit uncomfortable, but these guys want to win. Whatever it takes to win baseball games, they’re on board.’’

Benintendi has batted in all nine spots during his career, mostly second.

NOTE: Utility player Romy Gonzalez pinch-ran but is limited with a sore right shoulder and will be evaluated when the Sox return to Chicago.

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