Tim Anderson: Twins' throw at Yermín Mercedes 'sign of weakness'

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TA: Twins' throw behind Mercedes 'a sign of weakness' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Tim Anderson's feelings on the Minnesota Twins firing a pitch behind Yermín Mercedes' legs Tuesday night were not difficult to figure out.

The Chicago White Sox shortstop could be seen shouting angrily from the dugout at reliever Tyler Duffey, who was ejected along with manager Rocco Baldelli.

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Thursday, the two Land of 10,000 Lakers were suspended by Major League Baseball, Duffey for three games and Baldelli for one.

Anderson, who's had his own well told history involving retaliation for a supposed flaunting of the unwritten rules of the sport, was still very much against the throw coming from the White Sox division rivals when asked about it Friday.

"For the Twins throwing," he said, "it's definitely showing a sign of weakness."

The throw came a night after the Twins were obviously rankled by Mercedes launching a 3-0 pitch from a position player for a home run in ninth inning of a blowout White Sox win. Tony La Russa made — and days later, continues to make — headlines for his response to the moment, in which Mercedes missed a sign and caused La Russa to talk about his views on sportsmanship and respect for the game for days afterward.

Tuesday night, La Russa said he didn't think there was any malicious intent behind Duffey's throw. Two days later, the league's decision proved it saw things differently, which La Russa was accepting of, while citing how the game has changed.

"I was with MLB for three years. They pay a lot of attention to everything they do, so I'm not going to second guess anything that they (do)," he said. "In the old, old days, even when I started playing as a teenager, where players handled it, that is no longer possible because there is so much scrutiny now, from MLB, there's so many people talking. It can become a vendetta. You can't let that get out of hand."

Anderson, of course, was the recipient of a retaliatory plunking two years ago, when his bat flip heard 'round the world drew the ire of Kansas City Royals pitcher Brad Keller, who hit Anderson with a pitch in his following trip to the plate. Anderson got mad that day and was at the center of a benches-clearing incident, not to mention the spotlight on the evolving state of the game ever since.

Anderson rushed to Mercedes' defense on social media in the wake of La Russa's comments Tuesday, and he supported his teammate again Friday.

"You got a guy who has been playing really well," Anderson said. "He doesn't know better in that situation. There's really no right or wrong. But I think the biggest thing is really keep building his confidence. Just really show support to him, because at the end of the day, it's really about us. We are trying to win."

While Anderson said time and again during his media session before the start of the White Sox weekend series with the New York Yankees that the team's clubhouse is a strong one and a difference of opinion on these matters won't fracture the relationship between the players and La Russa, it was clear he was less accepting of the Twins.

His response echoed former manager Rick Renteria's words from the day of Anderson's bat flip against the Royals: "If you don't want him to do that, get him out."

Friday, it was Anderson making that case to a different set of AL Central rivals:

"If you don't want nobody to hit a homer, don't get on the mound," Anderson said. "It was definitely a sign of weakness from Duffey and the Twins."

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