DENVER — Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said Friday he has to be better after he let his emotions get the better of him in a heated moment with Cleveland Guardians slugger José Ramírez.
Anderson was suspended for six games after he fought with Ramírez on Aug. 5, triggering a wild brawl between the AL Central rivals. He had his punishment reduced to five games in a settlement with Major League Baseball that was announced on Thursday.
Anderson started serving the suspension with Friday night's series opener at Colorado.
“I’m kind of at a point in my career where I’ve never been here before,” Anderson said in his first meeting with the media since the altercation. “I have, but I haven’t. There’s something that I’m wrestling with, trying to continue to keep trying to find that positive with a lot of negative things that are going around. It’s kind of hard to find that positive.
"I’m obsessed with continuing to keep getting better — a better player, a better person — and just understand what I’m up against.”
The fight started after Ramírez slid headfirst into second base between Anderson’s legs with an RBI double. He seemed upset by a hard tag and jumped to his feet. The two exchanged words, with Ramírez pointing in Anderson’s face as second base umpire Malachi Moore tried to step between them.
Anderson then dropped his glove and challenged Ramírez by raising his hands and assuming a boxer’s stance. The players threw punches, with Ramírez connecting with a blind shot that dropped Anderson on his backside.
Ramírez missed two games after initially being suspended for three. Both managers, along with Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase and third base coach Mike Sarbaugh, were each suspended for one game.
When asked if he suffered a concussion or any other injury during the fight, Anderson said: “Everything’s good.” He declined to elaborate on what, if anything, triggered his reaction.
“I’m just going to continue to keep moving forward and not really try to bring anything up or be so detailed with what really went on,” Anderson said. “All we can do is just continue to keep moving and continue to try to keep being better.”
Anderson posted on Instagram on Thursday that comments made by the Guardians “do not excuse my language or conduct, and I take full responsibility for my emotions getting the better of me.”
The 30-year-old Anderson has struggled this year, batting a career-low .238 with one homer and 21 RBIs in 92 games. The two-time All-Star hit a major league-best .335 in 2019.
After beginning 2023 with playoff aspirations, fourth-place Chicago got off to a terrible start and never recovered.
Anderson was sidelined by a knee sprain in April, but he downplayed the effect of the injury on his tough season.
“I always try to lead by example, but I haven’t given a good example,” Anderson said. “But I come every day to try to better myself and better the guys around me. I work and I’m pretty sure this organization knows what type of person I am, what I bring to the table and how I work.”
Anderson was the subject of speculation ahead of this year's trade deadline. While acknowledging that any such decision would be out of his control, Anderson said he likes “where I’m at right now.”
Once his suspension is over and he returns to the field, he hopes better days are ahead.
“If you aren’t going through anything, you aren’t growing,” Anderson said. “I understand that it is a lot, but it has to be working toward something great, being at a point like this. I’m just going to keep going, just keep going, keep going and keep going. That’s all I can do. Just continue to keep hustling, keep working and see where it leads. Hopefully, it’s somewhere near greatness.”