By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is mourning the loss of one of his best friends.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Takes The Witness Stand, Describes Alleged Attack As Real And Like 'Something Out Of Looney Tunes Adventures'
Anderson’s close friend Branden Moss, 23, was shot to death over the weekend in a parking lot in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It’s been a difficult season on the field for Anderson, who’s now been hit with a gut-wrenching off-the-field tragedy.
“That is definitely bothering me,” Anderson said Wednesday. “We had a real bond. I know he is in a better place, but I continue to play, have fun and do it for him.
“We had a very close bond,” Anderson said of Moss. “He was very close to me, more so a brother. We’re talking seven years of a great relationship. He’s my baby’s God dad, I was his a daughter’s God dad. It was that type of bond.”
Anderson was given the day off Sunday after he had been informed of his friend’s murder. After a team off day Monday, he was back on the field Tuesday. Anderson refused to use this incident or any off-the-field distraction as an excuse for his below-average play so far this season.READ MORE: Department Of Justice Closes Emmett Till Investigation Without New Charges
Several days later, Anderson is still shaken and coping the best he can.
“He meant a lot to me,” Anderson said. “He was a special part of my life. I looked up to him, and we made each other better.”
Anderson is going through his first prolonged slump in the big leagues. After signing a six-year, $25-million in March that could be worth up to $50.5 million with club options, he entered Thursday hitting .210 with two homers, six RBIs and a .521 OPS in 28 games.
“This has been one of the toughest years of my life,” he said. “It is something I am controlling. I am working hard on not letting off-the-field issues control what I do on the field. That’s something I am still learning. All of this is new to me. I continue to grow and mature, definitely (to) become a better teammate and player.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Coldest Temperatures In Nearly 10 Months Early Tuesday
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.