Anderson showing off strong arm
White Sox outfielder has five assists in 20 games this spring
PHOENIX -- There's no debating Brian Anderson's high value as a defensive presence as part of the White Sox outfield.
Anyone who has doubts needs only watch a replay of his diving catch in center field to finish off the 1-0 victory over Minnesota in the 2008 American League Central tiebreaker game. But Anderson has showed off another facet to his prowess in the field during Spring Training by picking up five outfield assists in just 20 games.
Aside from being blessed with a strong arm, Anderson follows a few basic philosophies when trying to make that perfect strike to third base or nail a runner at home.
"You have to make sure you field the ball because you can't throw what you don't have," Anderson said with a smile. "But with repetition, it becomes second nature. You try to get a good grip on the ball and don't throw any two-seam dreams to the base.
"My main goal is to get the arm up and get behind the ball. Get my fingers behind the ball, and throw it with a nice backspin, on a line. I don't want to short arm it or get on the side of it because it causes the ball to tail a little bit. Not many guys can throw accurately at a three-quarter arm angle."
Anderson pitched a little bit during his collegiate career at the University of Arizona and credits that part of his game as an aide for his strong throwing arm. There also has been shoulder-strengthening exercises incorporated into Anderson's workout program to keep it from hurting, although not necessarily make it stronger.
"Long tossing has really helped me trough the years," Anderson said. "This year, I'm just mainly trying to keep the ball down and just trusting my arm that the ball will get there.
"In the past, I've occasionally sailed the cutoff man. It's tough to get the ball there on a line, but if you can get behind it and make a nice one or two-hopper to the base, it increases the chances of throwing the guy out."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.