First pitch: When it comes to Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol is pushing a key point

In a year filled with frustration for Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol is making clear that there isn't any connection between that and the fight with the Cleveland Guardians that led to Anderson's suspension.

Pedro Grifol, Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox
Pedro Grifol, Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox / Ron Vesely/GettyImages

DENVER — When Tim Anderson sat in front of the media at Coors Field last Friday to talk about his suspension and how he hoped to better himself for the rest of the season and beyond, several within the Chicago White Sox organization also hoped that it marked the end of one brutal chapter of the season and opened the door on one that would build momentum for the 2024 campaign.

Whether Anderson will be a part of the plans on the South Side next season remains to be seen, with a $14 million team option in place that could be picked up or turned down. However, that's 2024. White Sox manager Pedro Grifol is still concerned about 2023 and setting the record straight about his All-Star shortstop.

Chicago White Sox: Pedro Grifol's views on Tim Anderson, fight with Cleveland Guardians

Speaking to members of the media shortly after Anderson finished his mea culpa in Denver, Grifol was asked about the fight between the Cleveland Guardians and White Sox that was the genesis of Anderson's suspension. He was quick to share his views on how the fight and Anderson's frustrating season were two separate entities.

"I would never correlate that fight to any type of frustration that people think he's having or had on that particular day," Grifol said.

Grifol has seen plenty of people making the correlation between the fight and the season, but, with Anderson returning from suspension later this week, the first-year White Sox skipper is ready to air his opinion on the subject.

"I've been asked that more than a handful of times," Grifol said, referring to the fight being the boiling point of Anderson's season. "I think we're just going into the type of year that Timmy's had and we're forgetting what happened on the play. We're forgetting how that started. I think it's important for everyone to either forget about it (the fight) and not talk about it any more or stop correlating the year that he's had with that fight."

Let's look back at the moments that led to the altercation before hearing more of Grifol's thoughts.

"It was a base hit turned into a double," Grifol recalled. "It was a hard slide. It was a pretty hard tag. He straddled (Jose) Ramirez. Ramirez hit him in the leg. He got up, pointing his finger right in his face. I think 90 percent of the time, there's going to be a fight or at least a couple of pushes.

"I don't see where that happened because of the year that Tim has had. I don't."

Grifol is asking the world to move on from what it saw and understand that Anderson plays with "an edge" (something he told me during spring training as well). Now he hopes that edge can be productive for a White Sox team that enters Tuesday's home game against Seattle with a 49-76 record.

Yes, Chicago will simply be playing out the schedule when Anderson returns ... and he will return hoping to show he should be a part of the future on the South Side. For his part, Anderson has said his peace. Now Grifol is seemingly saying his.

"Obviously he didn't want to (struggle this season), but it also has shown me and a lot of others how hard he really works at this and how much he really loves and respects this," Grifol said. "If you don't respect the game, you don't work hard the way he does."

Anderson now has another chance to put the fight and his struggles in the background upon his return. Exactly what lessons each has taught him this season are still being formulated, but Grifol and the White Sox are hoping and planning for a drama-free September.

"Sometimes things happen for a reason," Grifol said. "I've said it over and over again, adversity is education. I think we're all learning through this process and sometimes it helps us down the road when we hit adversity again."

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