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.