GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson looks at Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw and thinks of what might have been.
”In a perfect scenario, I’d be like my guy over here,” he said as he looked at Kershaw in a nearby dressing stall in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
The scenario has been anything but perfect. Injuries have always seemed to prevent Anderson from reaching the potential that was evident when he broke into the major leagues in 2009 with the Oakland Athletics.
Article continues below ...
Now, the left-hander is with the Dodgers, working on another comeback after signing a one-year deal on Dec. 31. He is coming off surgery for a herniated disc, which ended his 2014 season last August in Colorado.
”The back is fine,” said Anderson, who is projected to be the Dodgers’ fourth or fifth starter. ”I feel strong. The herniated disc was a random thing. The doctor told me it was just kind of the perfect amount of torque at the wrong time, I guess. I put in a lot of work this offseason. Got stronger. Hopefully, it will pay off.”
The Dodgers are betting it will.
”If we can get him through to the other end of the season without injury, the upside is just tremendous,” said Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations.
Anderson is 27-32 with three saves and a 3.73 ERA in 92 games over six major league seasons with Oakland and Colorado.
”I don’t want to be egotistical, but I think I’m a pretty good pitcher,” he said. ”When I can go, I’ve been pretty successful. I want my name mentioned up there with those you would least like to face or who you think some of the best pitchers are. I want to be in that conversation.”
But his history of injuries is a caveat. Anderson suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in 2013. He broke an index finger on his left hand last season while with the Rockies before suffering the herniated disc. He was limited to eight starts and went 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA.
”It’d be more frustrating if it had been one re-occurring thing or multiple arm injuries,” said Anderson. ”I think I’m the only guy to break his finger hitting and have the bat not break. It’s just crazy.”
Notes: Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, acquired from Philadelphia in a December trade, and outfielder Andre Ethier arrived Monday, two days before position players are scheduled to report. Ethier is expected to be in a fight for his job. Manager Don Mattingly said Monday he plans to meet with Either. He doesn’t anticipate any issues. ”I never have a problem with Andre,” Mattingly said. ”He’s a pro.”