Anderson's woes trying Sox's patience

SportsBaseballChicago White SoxEddie GuardadoOzzie GuillenBrian AndersonJuan Uribe

Mark Buehrle left Cleveland with a puffy ERA, and catcher Chris Widger and right fielder Jermaine Dye departed with assorted ailments.

Fortunately for the White Sox, they have enough depth to address more pressing concerns after a 7-1 loss Tuesday at soggy Jacobs Field that capped a 5-3 trip.

But more important than one loss are the continuing woes of rookie center fielder Brian Anderson, who is in a 2-for-27 slump that has dropped his batting average to .141.

Manager Ozzie Guillen has been careful to try to keep Anderson's confidence up, but he is considering playing utility man Rob Mackowiak more in center against selected right-handed pitchers.

Mackowiak made the most of his third consecutive game by going 2-for-4. He has six hits in his last 10 at-bats.

Anderson, the Sox's No. 1 draft pick in 2003, assumed the starting job after the departure of fan favorite Aaron Rowand. He recognizes his position is precarious. He has only one hit since his ninth-inning, game-tying home run off Seattle's Eddie Guardado on April 24.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated," Anderson said. "Every hitter wants to get hits every time, but that's not the way it works. I have to do whatever I can to stay positive. It's tough right now.

"This is the biggest challenge, by far, of my career. I'll try to get it back and get something going."

If Anderson gained any encouragement from Tuesday's game, it stemmed from the fact that he didn't strike out in four at-bats after whiffing three times in an 0-for-5 performance Monday night.

He admits opposing pitchers have fooled him when they mix inside fastballs with sharp breaking pitches.

Guillen has remained loyal to Anderson, whose batting average has been below .200 since April 12. Guillen admires Anderson's defense—he nearly threw out Jhonny Peralta at the plate on a close play in the fifth inning. But "it's getting to the point where I don't want him to be embarrassed," Guillen said.

"It's not an easy situation for him or for me," Guillen said. "I want it for him. But in the meanwhile, we're not building. This is not the Instructional League. This team is built to win as many games as we can. Right now it doesn't seem uglier because we're winning.

"On the other side, I cannot say if Anderson doesn't hit, we're not going to win. That's not fair either. We don't care if [he hits] .300, but we need better at-bats. He's not getting good at-bats right now."

Neither is Juan Uribe, the Sox's No. 8 hitter, who is batting .173. But Uribe has an established big-league record.

Anderson stranded only one runner in scoring position Tuesday as the Sox left 14 runners on base for the second consecutive game. The loss ended an eight-game winning streak at Jacobs Field dating to last July.

"We didn't do what we do the best—clutch hitting," Guillen said. "We got a lot of guys on base, but we didn't bring them in.

"But I like it that way. We have a chance every inning to score some runs. It's just a matter of a hit here or there, and we will score more runs."

A return to U.S. Cellular Field for an eight-game homestand could provide some comfort.

"We played well on the road, but it's always nice to be back in Chicago and have the support of your fans," Anderson said.

mgonzales@tribune.com

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