Schwarber takes boos in stride, says it's 'fun to be back' in Chicago
By Matt Baron
Daily Herald correspondent
"It's all in good fun."
That was Red Sox outfielder Kyle Schwarber's assessment Saturday afternoon of the boos that White Sox fans showered on him the night before the three-game series opener.
Standing several feet from fans trying to coax him into providing his autograph, Schwarber noted, "I'm not a guy who takes boos personally."
"I think if you're getting booed, you're doing something good, right?" added Schwarber. "It's fun to be back here in Chicago."
The 28-year-old played six seasons for the Chicago Cubs and was among their World Series heroes in 2016. He left the team in January, signing as a free agent with the Washington Nationals.
In his first 24 games since getting traded to the Red Sox on July 29, Schwarber had slashed .306/.438/.518 in 105 plate appearances entering Saturday's contest. Altogether, he has 29 home runs and 61 runs batted in, and his .922 OPS is about 200 points over the Major League average and 106 points above his career average entering 2021.
In June, Schwarber reeled off a historically hot streak that sealed his first All Star selection. In one stretch, he had 12 home runs 10 games, duplicating a mark established by the Indians' Albert Belle in 1995.
Schwarber said he's enjoyed being back in Chicago, though "there's no real going out right now," in light of heightened precautions. Over the past two weeks, 12 Red Sox players have gone on the COVID Injured List -- with ex-White Sox pitcher Chris Sale the latest to do so on Friday.
Schwarber went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts on Friday. On Saturday, he walked in each of his first two at bats, scoring one of the seven Boston runs in the third inning against Chicago starter Dylan Cease.
Anderson '98.5%' ready for return:
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was out of the lineup for the 11th consecutive game on Saturday, but he looked strong as he took batting practice and ran the bases beforehand. He said that he is "not too far" from a return, adding, "I'm right where I need to be."
Asked to assign a percentage to his readiness, Anderson replied, "Ninety-eight point five."
Hamilton puts on pregame show:
Though he wasn't in the starting lineup, White Sox outfielder Billy Hamilton was the first to draw a roar from the crowd -- well, at least the small contingent that had filed into Guaranteed Rate Field early as part of the pregame Sox Crawl.
Those early birds were responding to Hamilton's leaping grab of a batting practice shot headed over the wall in center field. For the first time this season, fans were in the park for batting practice.
"I wanted to give them what they wanted to see," Hamilton said after trotting off the field, "Put a show on for them."
After missing the entire month of August due to an oblique strain, Hamilton has played in three games over the past week. He enjoys shagging BP flyballs, as they help his timing during live action, he said.