White Sox get their igniter back

DETROIT — Manager Tony La Russa felt good about having Tim Anderson back.

“Happiness,” La Russa said. “In all capital letters.”

La Russa has raved about Anderson’s ability, leadership and energy since getting acquainted with him last season. On the day Anderson played his first game of the season after sitting out the first two serving a suspension, La Russa called Anderson “the most lit up, energized player I’ve ever watched.”

La Russa has

“Every day, from the minute he walks into that locker room, he’s got life and commitment and it’s ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ Every practice and every game.

“He’s our igniter.”

A couple hours later, La Russa watched Anderson hit the first pitch he’d faced since spring training into the left field corner for a double, off Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal. He went to third on Luis Robert’s line single and scored on Jose Abreu’s groundout. Robert scored on Eloy Jimenez’ foul sacrifice fly.

The Sox went 1-1 without their shortstop, leadoff man and sparkplug Anderson, who entered Sunday’s game batting .439/.474/.692 with six homers and 20 RBI in last 25 games against the Tigers. Anderson’s production is first and foremost in terms of his value, but the intangibles are notable as well.

“You see his antics and his energy level and it’s infectious,” La Russa said. “And it’s all real. He’s not putting on a show and then he disappears. He wants it. He wants to win.”

Anderson was suspended and and fined for bumping umpire Tim Timmons late last season in a bench clearing incident at Comerica Park, punishment La Russa said was “unfair.”

10 years for Harrison

Coach Jerry Narron made an extra lineup card for infielder Josh Harrison to have as a keepsake. It’s Harrison’s 10-year anniversary in the majors.

“It ain’t kinda cool, it’s definitely cool,” said Harrison, in his first year with the Sox. “Words can’t really describe. To get to 10, it’s a testament to longevity and doing what you need to do. I’ve been blessed. It’s one thing to make it to the big leagues, it’s another thing to stay.”

Harrison, 34, began his career in 2011 with the Pirates. He has also played with the Tigers, Nationals and Athletics. An All-Star with the Pirates in 2014 and ’17, Harrison battled injuries in a stretch of five straight years but had his career high for plate appearances (558) last season.

Rotation issues

Lucas Giolito (abdominal strain) has not landed on the injured list yet but might when the Sox open their first homestand Tuesday. Vince Velasquez starts the home opener and Dallas Keuchel goes Wednesday. Thursday is TBA.

“Everybody’s an option,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said. “We’ve got some guys that are not here as possible options, guys that are in the clubhouse as options. We’re just going to have to be creative and try to weather this storm and find matchups that best suit the other team’s lineup and kind of work off of that.”

Reynaldo Lopez is not for now. At least until reliever Joe Kelly is ready to pitch, he’s wanted in the bullpen. Tanner Banks could be, but he might be needed in relief.

There’s Johnny

Ethan Katz knows Johnny Cueto well from when both were with the Giants. Cueto, signed to a $4.2 million minor league contract, needs to build up innings at Triple-A Charlotte first.

Being in shape will not bean issue, Katz said.

“When he’s ready he’ll be banging on the door and we’re going to be banging on the door at Triple-A to know when he’s ready,” Katz said.

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