Tim Anderson returns from injured list as White Sox lineup finally returns to full strength

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It's been a tough second half to this point for the White Sox, who have won just four times in their 17 games since the All-Star break. But a lineup that's slumped to the tune of exactly three runs a game is finally back at full strength.

The White Sox activated Tim Anderson from the injured list ahead of Tuesday's series-opener against the visiting New York Mets, returning their starting shortstop to the team for the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain on June 25 in Boston.

Anderson's injury didn't end up being as serious as it initially looked like it might have been when he was helped off the field at a rain-soaked Fenway Park, but it still kept him on the shelf for more than a month, bringing a sudden and lengthy interruption to what's been a breakout 2019 campaign for the 26-year-old.

The White Sox are hoping that breakout campaign can pick up where it left off, with Anderson batting .317/.342/.491, career bests in all three categories. He appeared in five games during a rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte, during which he went 8-for-23 with a homer, a double, four RBIs and three runs scored.

But more than his success at the plate, the true test of Anderson's recovery will be whether he can once again make the kinds of exciting, speed-based plays that have become his trademark both in the field and on the base paths. More than anything, as well as the general energy he brings to the lineup, that kind of play is what the White Sox have been missing.

“Some of the guys have told me that,” Anderson said last week, presented with the idea that the White Sox are missing his presence. “It's been a tough stretch. I'm sure it's been hard, but take it a day at a time. I'm ready to get back with the boys and just keep having fun with them.”

Anderson returns to the team just one game after Eloy Jimenez returned from a stay on the injured list with a ulnar nerve contusion, bringing the lineup back to full strength.

The mere presence of Anderson and Jimenez won't solve all the offense's problems. James McCann is slashing just .135/.167/.308 in the second half after slashing .316/.371/.502 during his All-Star first half. Jose Abreu's second-half on-base percentage is just .235 with a batting average right on the Mendoza line. Anderson and Jimenez can't make those numbers improve all by themselves, but their returns should be of great relief, nonetheless.

There was a spot open for Anderson after the White Sox optioned pitcher Dylan Covey to Charlotte on Sunday, but the team made a couple additional roster moves ahead of the series with the Mets. They sent outfielder Ryan Cordell to Charlotte and recalled Carson Fulmer. Fulmer has a 6.32 ERA in 15 2/3 innings across four stints with the White Sox this season.

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