Apr 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Brett Anderson (49) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics: Brett Anderson Could Pitch Out of the Bullpen

From Opening Day starter to relief pitcher?

That’s the scenario Oakland Athletics southpaw Brett Anderson could be facing when he returns from the 60-day disabled list for a fractured right foot.

Anderson was slated to be the ace of the team at the start of the season, but his injury has forced others to step up — and step up they have. The A’s rank first in the American League with a 3.58 team ERA, all five of their starters have a .500 or above record, and Bartolo Colon has become the undisputed ace with 14 wins and a 2.54 ERA.

Which leaves Anderson as the odd man out when he is expected to return in a couple weeks.

“At this point, I just want to come back and pitch on the mound in a big-league game,” he said, when asked by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle if he would be willing to take a relief role. “I’d be happy just to participate. We’ll play it by ear though – obviously I have steps I have to clear before that point, but our starters have been pitching phenomenally well. I don’t want to say there’s not a spot for me, but I do want to be the team guy.”

He threw a bullpen session earlier this week, which went well, and will probably throw a couple of rehab games in the minors before joining the big league club.

“I feel strong,” Anderson told MLB.com. “My body’s a non-issue, more so focusing on my pitching and making sure my pitches are where they are.”

The lefty is 1-4 with a 6.21 ERA in five starts this season. Last year, he made a similar return from injury late in the campaign, and provided a little spark with four wins in six starts. He also was flawless in his only postseason appearance, shutting out the Tigers in six innings.

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