Getting crowded at second base - but White Sox see that as good problem to have

With Elvis Andrus returning from an oblique injury Friday, the White Sox suddenly have a problem at second base.

But the way they see it, it's a really good one to have.

Andrus is a 34-year-old veteran who has 2,000-plus career hits and owns a lifetime .269 batting average to go along with a .325 on-base percentage.

He'll be fighting for playing time with the up-and-coming Romy Gonzalez, who went 11-for-36 with 3 doubles, 3 home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 11 games heading into Saturday.

"That's good, man. That's baseball," Andrus said before the White Sox' 2-1 victory over Detroit at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday. "That's one thing that I told him: 'Don't feel bad, man. I did the same when I was younger.'

"I want nothing but all my teammates - even if we play the same position - to do their best. At the end, it's all about winning."

That's not always the response you'll see from a veteran of nearly 2,000 games. But it definitely makes manager Pedro Grifol's job easier.

"He's a team guy, and he understands what this is all about," Grifol said. "He's been on winning teams before, and he's probably been the guy who has been on the other side. ... It's a really easy conversation even though he wants to play. I respect that."

After going 0-for-2 Saturday, Andrus is now 27-for-136 (.199) with 12 walks, 4 doubles and 1 home run in 40 games. He was injured after following through on a swing against Houston on May 12, and just completed a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte where he went 5-for-14 in four games.

Gonzalez hit .139 in April, but turned things around after going 3-for-3 against the Royals on May 21. He homered in three straight games last week and went 1-for-3 with a run during a 3-0 win over Detroit on Friday.

Gonzalez entered Saturday's game as a pinch runner in the eighth inning and stole second. He also executed a sacrifice bunt in the 10th that moved Yoan Moncada to third base. Moncada would later score on a wild pitch that bounced off the mask of home-plate umpire Cory Blaser.

"I'll tell you what," Grifol said, "Romy did a great job of moving Moncada over."

Grifol hasn't mapped out any long-term plan on how to deal with playing time. For now, it will be about who he believes will fare best against that day's opposing pitcher.

"I'm not getting locked up into looking at who's gonna play what and how many games this week," Grifol said. "If somebody takes it and runs with it and he becomes the guy that takes on the majority of the ABs, then so be it.

"But we're looking at matchups and who's pitching and what kind of pitch shapes they have and swings that we've got. So we're doing our due diligence in trying to put the best club on the field every single day."

With Elvis Andrus returning from an oblique injury, the White Sox have a problem at second base. But the way they see it, it's a good one to have. Associated Press
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