Evolved Tim Anderson greets Adam Eaton upon return of White Sox outfielder

Adam Eaton was with the White Sox when Tim Anderson came to the majors in 2016.

He saw it. He played with it. But she didn’t hear much from him.

Fast forward almost five years, and Eaton listens to Anderson a lot more.

“I was with him all day,” Eaton said of Anderson on the first day of full-team practice at Camelback Ranch. “I heard him speak more in the two and a half hours we were out than in the month or two I had with him in ’16.”

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Eaton is back with the White Sox after four seasons with the Washington Nationals. The White Sox traded him after the 2016 season to help fuel their rebuilding project, and Eaton won a World Series ring with the Nationals in 2019.

Much has changed since Eaton left after the infamous and dysfunctional 2016 campaign. Among the most notable changes, however, has to be Anderson’s evolution from a typically timid rookie in the face of the franchise and one of the faces of the franchise. baseball, in general.

“It’s incredible,” Eaton said. “Seeing TA in 2016 … he was really calm back then and I was just trying to find his. And now he’s a top-notch shortstop. He’s an amazing player, an amazing guy. And then to be able to have conversations with him. when he’s a little more open and direct than when he was a rookie, it’s really cool to see him and his personality.

“Seeing him from the other side, just looking at how he’s progressed as a baseball player, it’s really impressive how he’s matured at shortstop, as well as with the bat. So I can’t wait to be on this team and be able to see it all. the days “.

In 2016, Eaton was part of the veterans group at the White Sox clubhouse, one of the guys who garnered media attention every night.

Now, however, it is Anderson who is giving daily briefings for the media, a part of the leadership group of a White Sox team seeking a World Series run in 2021 like the one the Eaton Nationals did two years ago. .

Five years ago, Eaton was described as a spark plug for the White Sox lineup. Now it’s Anderson who drives the bus for MVP.

“When I decided to go back, it definitely came to mind,” Eaton said. “I think he’s the face of the organization, if not one of the three main faces, I don’t want to belittle anyone else. But it really does turn the team around, so to speak, in the clubhouse and on the field, being shortstop. .

“To have that defined shortstop voice in the clubhouse, voice in the city of Chicago. You want that solidity in the baseball club.”

Anyone who has followed Anderson’s evolution over the course of his major league career knows that his personal growth has been as significant as his growth on the field. From .240 batter to batting champion is one thing. From quiet child to open defender is another.

The White Sox benefit from both, which Eaton has quickly realized.

Of course, Anderson, in one of his swagger-filled jokes during his first spring Monday press session, doesn’t need to be reminded of everything that has happened since Eaton left.

And he doesn’t think Eaton, or anyone else, should be.

“I know you’ve been watching,” he said. “Everyone has been watching.”

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