The A’s starting rotation is about to welcome a major late-season addition, as left-hander Brett Anderson was activated from the 60-day disabled list earlier today. He’ll make his season debut Tuesday night against the Twins. To make room for Anderson, the A’s optioned Dan Straily to Triple-A Sacramento. It would have been Straily’s turn to pitch Tuesday. Rather than experiment with a six-man rotation, a realistic option given the A’s pitching depth, it’s obvious the A’s have chosen the five starters they think are best and they want to ride them out as this pennant race heats up. So the current rotation goes Brandon McCarthy (tonight’s starter), Anderson, Tommy Milone, Bartolo Colon and Jarrod Parker.
Anderson last pitched in the majors on June 5, 2011. He had reconstructive elbow surgery on July 14, 2011. So his big league return comes 13 months and one week after surgery. That’s a pretty quick timeline given that the standard estimation for a player to be sidelined is 12-18 months. Anderson had a very hassle-free recovery. Aside from some forearm soreness that slowed him for a short time, he had no setbacks. After six rehab starts — one with Single-A Stockton and five with Triple-A Sacremento — he’s ready for the big stage.
“It will be fun to pitch against another big league team rather than (in front of) 350 people in 100 % humidity in New Orleans,” Anderson quipped.
Anderson is also excited about rejoining the A’s in the middle of their push for the postseason. He said he doesn’t take anything for granted as far as his spot in the rotation. “These aren’t meaningless innings,” Anderson said. “You wanna go out there and pitch well because we’re in a tight race. … I wanna go out there and pitch well because we need to win ballgames. So it’s going to be that much more pressure-filled, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
You’ll notice a trimmer Anderson on the mound. He estimated his weight between 225 and 230 pounds right now, and said he got as heavy as 248 right before hurting his elbow. What impact does he think it will make? “Hopefully it means I can feel just as strong from pitch 1 to the last pitch of the game,” he said. “I feel strong, feel healthy. And hopefully it translates to good things. If it doesn’t, maybe I’ll go eat cheeseburgers and try to get fatter again.”
As for Straily, A’s manager Bob Melvin talked highly of him. “He did a nice job for us, and it shows the depth we have in the organization,” Melvin said. “He’s 1-0 and we won all three of his starts. And I don’t think we’ve seen his best game. He was getting more and more comfortable each and every time. But we really felt like at this point in time it was time for Brett.”
–In other news, right-hander A.J. Griffin will make his first rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento on WEdnesday. He’ll go about 65 pitches. Melvin said Griffin (strained right shoulder) will make another start after that. At that point, rosters will have expanded to 40 and the A’s can utilize Griffin however they wish.
–Outfielder Seth Smith (strained left hamstring) is playing a rehab game for Sacramento tonight, and Melvin said he could return as soon as Tuesday.
A’s — Crisp CF, Gomes DH, Reddick RF, Cespedes LF, CArter 1B, Donaldson 3B, Norris C, Rosales SS, Weeks 2B; McCArthy RHP.
Twins — Revere CF, Mastroianni RF, Mauer C, Willingham LF , Morneau 1B, Doumit DH, Plouffe 3B, CArroll 2B, Florimon SS; Duensing LHP.