Rick Hahn takes a long-term view as the Chicago White Sox return for the home opener after a 3-4 trip: ‘There’s obviously some things that need to be tightened up’

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LaMond Pope, Chicago Tribune
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The Chicago White Sox experienced some bumps while opening the season on the road.

They went 3-4 against the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners.

Two of the losses to the Angels came after leading after seven innings. The final loss to the Angels came on a walk-off. The Sox couldn’t hold on to a three-run lead and lost the last game of the trip Wednesday to the Seattle Mariners.

General manger Rick Hahn kept things in perspective Thursday before the rain-delayed home opener against the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“There’s obviously some things that need to be tightened up, we all know that, we’ve seen the games,” Hahn said. “Especially on the defensive end of things, this team is capable of a bunch of higher-caliber play, and we expect over the course of 162 that’s the level we are going to settle in at.

“Certainly it’s nice to have small sample sizes to overreact to. ... Sort of a rite of passage to read too much into the first series or the first couple of series or even the first month.”

The Sox had seven errors through Wednesday, tied for first in the American League with the Texas Rangers. Hahn is keeping a big-picture view.

“The defensive side of things is something we expect not to be concerned with over the long term,” he said.

Injuries also affected the trip.

Shortstop Tim Anderson went on the 10-day injured list Wednesday (retroactive to Monday) with a strained left hamstring. He said he feels like he’s at about 85%.

“Been feeling great, been able to get up to speed a little bit,” Anderson said Thursday. “Each day feeling better, so that’s a positive. Definitely feeling good and just keep working and come back 100%.

“I’m definitely going to stay on top of it now and I know what I need to do to go out there the rest of the season, continue to keep making that progress and get stronger every day. I’m going to take care of those hammys.”

Hahn said the Sox are working under the projection that Anderson will be back as soon as the 10 days are up, “which would be the last day of the Cleveland series (April 15).”

“There’s still milestones to pass,” Hahn said. “He hasn’t been out on the field taking ground balls just yet. An injury like his, you want to err on the side of caution. We will ramp him up accordingly and if need be adjust the timing, but the expectation would be he returns on Day 11.”

Outfielder Billy Hamilton became the latest Sox player sidelined, joining Anderson and outfielder Adam Engel (strained right hamstring). The Sox placed Hamilton on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring.

“This is the time of the year where it’s tough to push the running game at times because the legs are vulnerable, we are going through it now with Tim and Billy,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said.

Hamilton suffered the injury Wednesday while stealing third base in the fifth inning against the Mariners. He is 3-for-11 (.273) with one RBI in six games.

“Billy is a really useful roster player with us because he can play the three outfield spots, a switch-hitter and he’s really a plus in the clubhouse plus steals bases,” La Russa said.

With Hamilton out, the Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Nick Williams from the Schaumburg training facility and transferred left-hander Jace Fry to the 60-day injured list.

Williams, 27, hit .300 (12-for-40) with four doubles, one home run and two RBIs in 24 Cactus League games. He was in the starting lineup Thursday, batting seventh and playing left field.

“Nick had a great spring,” La Russa said. “He’s had some good workouts as he’s gotten healthy.”

Fry went on the injured list April 1 (retroactive to March 29) to continue his recovery from an offseason microdiscectomy.

“It was always a matter of getting him back, started putting him on a program and figuring out from there what he can tolerate in terms of the return, which was originally projected for some time in May and now will be some time in likely early June,” Hahn said.

Hamilton, Anderson and Engel were introduced consecutively Thursday during a pregame ceremony, which also included chants of “M-V-P” from the crowd when 2020 American League MVP Jose Abreu was on the field.

Anderson was thrilled to see fans back at the ballpark.

“Definitely means a lot,” he said. “You’re playing in one of the best cities there is in front of the greatest fans there are. Definitely excited to have fans back in the ballpark. I’m sure it’s going to be loud and they are excited to see the guys. We’re excited to have them as well.”