GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)Elvis Andrus enjoyed his short stay in Chicago so much that he decided to return to the White Sox.
Even if it meant changing positions.
Andrus finalized a $3 million, one-year contract on Monday, stepping into team’s opening at second base. The two-time All-Star also finished last season with the White Sox.
”The main thing for me, at this point in my career, I want to win and compete,” Andrus said, ”and I know this team is set to do that. … I think that being able to play here (for the) last month last season, get to know the guys, kind of put a lot of weight towards my decision.”
The 34-year-old Andrus has played shortstop for his entire big league career. But he has some experience making plays on the other side of the infield because of the shift.
”Playing second, I don’t think it’s going to be such a big challenge for me,” he said. ”I think it’s just put in the work, you know, trying to get the ABC of playing second.”
Andrus also gives the White Sox some insurance at shortstop after Tim Anderson played in just 79 games last year.
The shift provided an opportunity for Andrus to learn some of the angles at second, and the new ban on the infield shift made putting a player such as Andrus at second even more appealing for Chicago.
”With the change in the shift rules, having someone with range and a strong arm and good instincts is going to be of added benefit in the middle infield. We think Elvis profiles that way,” general manager Rick Hahn said. ”Certainly going to be no doubt that he’s going to put the work in to make himself as good as possible at that position and look forward to get starting today.”
To make room on the roster, left-hander Bennett Sousa was designated for assignment. Sousa went 3-0 with an 8.41 ERA in 25 appearances with the White Sox last year.
Andrus originally joined Chicago after he was cut by Oakland in August. He hit .271 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in 43 games with the White Sox.
He was signed by the team after Anderson had surgery for a torn ligament in his left middle finger, but the All-Star shortstop is healthy again.
Andrus ”was a big spark for us,” outfielder Gavin Sheets said. ”Obviously when you lose a player like Tim Anderson, it hurts the clubhouse and hurts the team. He came in and didn’t skip a beat and played really, really well last year. It’s going to help us to bring in another veteran guy that can help us win a championship.”
Andrus is a .270 hitter with 96 homers, 731 RBIs and 335 steals in 14 years in the majors. He broke into the big leagues with Texas in 2009 and played for the Rangers for 12 seasons before he was traded to Oakland in February 2021.
Andrus’ contract includes a $1 million assignment bonus if he is traded. He has never played second in a major league game.
”I think he’s going to be fine over there,” first-year manager Pedro Grifol said. ”He’s extremely instinctual. He’s a baseball player. We’ll have a lot of information for him and he knows how to decipher that and I think he’s going to be fine.”
Romy Gonzalez had been in the mix at second, and Hahn said he is going to move around the infield and play the corner outfield spots.
”Very confident Romy is going to help us win ballgames in Chicago in some capacity over the course of this season,” Hahn said.
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