The Chicago White Sox haven’t had a shortstop start the All-Star Game since Luis Aparicio in 1970.
Tim Anderson is in the running to update that list.
Anderson and Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays are the finalists to start at shortstop in the American League for this year’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Anderson held a 55%-45% edge after Thursday’s voting update, according to MLB.com.
“Definitely a blessing,” Anderson said before Thursday’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field. “We understand it’s a grind. And just to see, from the time I jumped into this organization, to see where I’m at now, it’s been great.
“I’ve been thankful, I’ve been blessed to get into this position. And to be leading the starting (vote), it’s cool, it’s pretty cool. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people that would want to be in that position, and for it to be me, I don’t take anything for granted. I’ll always be thankful and I’ll definitely appreciate the moment if it does happen.”
Voting available at MLB.com ends at 1 p.m., and the results will be announced at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
Anderson appreciated the support from the fans.
“It definitely says a lot about that they’re paying attention to what’s really going on,” Anderson said. “Just being thought about and being voted for, I’m definitely thankful for that. I appreciate them and I thank them for rooting and voting.”
Anderson earned his first All-Star selection as a reserve last season. He was one of four Sox on the AL roster in the game at Coors Field in Denver. Anderson entered at shortstop in the eighth and was in the on-deck circle in the top of the ninth when the inning’s final out was recorded.
“To finally get that first one, I have to continue to keep working year after year,” Anderson said Saturday in San Francisco. “But definitely was a blessing and definitely was a dream come true as well. Just another great accomplishment.”
Pitchers and reserves, added via a combination of player-ballot choices and picks from the Commissioner’s office, will be announced at 4:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.
Dylan Cease, who started Thursday, is among the pitchers who could represent the Sox. He was 7-3 with a 2.51 ERA in his first 16 starts. Cease is third in the majors with 125 strikeouts.
Despite a recent cold spell — slashing .167/.216/.188 (8-for-48) with one extra-base hit in his last 11 games entering Thursday — Anderson still would be sixth in the AL in batting average (.314) if he had the required plate appearances.
His 10 three-hit games rank second in the majors behind Xander Bogaerts (11) of the Boston Red Sox.
“Just continue to keep grinding,” Anderson said of his approach. “You understand it’s a long season, but you’ve got to grind it out and keep learning, keep growing. I’m just at a point where you keep learning to identify yourself. You just keep grinding out, that’s all you can do.
“The days aren’t going to stop, everything’s going to keep going. All you can do is grab hold to it and keep pushing.”
The Sox are trying to make a push in the AL Central. They began Thursday in third place in the division, 5½ games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.
The Sox received a lift Wednesday when Eloy Jiménez returned from the injured list. The left fielder had a two-run homer and an RBI single, helping the Sox beat the Twins 9-8 in 10 innings. It was his first game since April 23, when he suffered a torn right hamstring tendon.
“Good to have his energy back,” Anderson said. “He swung the bat real well. Hopefully he can keep going. But it’s good to bring more energy in and get him back. I’m excited for him. Hopefully we can keep pushing and keep having fun and turn things around.
“(He) bring another personality. We’d like more wins with more fun. But we understand the process and understand the grind. We’ve just got to stay the course and keep working and try to get better.”
Yasmani Grandal begins rehab assignment
Catcher Yasmani Grandal began an injury rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham on Thursday, serving as the designated hitter against Tennessee.
Grandal has been on the injured list retroactive to June 12 with lower back spasms.
“He’s an amazing guy,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said Thursday. “Last year (when he missed time with a torn left knee tendon) and this year when he went down, you think down and out. But he was down but not out.
“Every day that guy’s dedication to the craft is impressive. He’s getting his body ready but mentally there’s no days off.”