The Oakland A’s received some bad news Friday about the ace of their pitching staff, Brett Anderson. He was already on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, but was determined to have a fractured foot and will be out for at least another month.
Oakland announced that the 25-year-old left-handed Anderson has a navicular stress fracture in his right foot via their official Twitter account:
The #Athletics announced that LHP Brett Anderson has a navicular stress fracture of his right foot. He will be reevaluated in four weeks.— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) May 17, 2013
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser confirmed the story, while indicating Anderson will be re-evaluated in four weeks. In an update to her story, she reported that he is expecting to pitch again this year, but if it is determined he needs surgery, it would likely end his season.
Now in his fifth major league season, Anderson has been consistently plagued by injuries since a successful rookie campaign in 2009 that saw him go 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA in 30 starts. He has appeared in just a combined 44 games (43 starts) in the four years since, and been on the disabled list a number of times, including undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011.
Anderson is 1-4 with a 6.21 ERA this year in six games. He has been on the disabled list with a sprained ankle since May 1, and was nearing a return when he found out about his most recent injury.
According to an Associated Press Report on ESPN.com, the southpaw was bitterly disappointed about his most recent setback:
It's pretty frustrating, disappointing and all the other similar adjectives. I was two days away from making another rehab start and now I'm in a walking boot with a fracture in my foot…
I'd pitched in San Antonio and felt good after that. I was running Monday in the outfield and all of a sudden my foot started hurting. I got it checked out and this is the result. I'm still processing it. I should take up a hobby, maybe play darts or something.
Slusser reported Anderson is in a walking boot and on crutches. She believes that even in the best case scenario, between healing and necessary rehab, he would miss at least two months with his fracture.
Is Anderson worth all the time he has missed?
Young right-hander Dan Straily replaced Anderson in the Oakland rotation, but his poor performance so far suggests the team could look at other options. He is 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA in five starts, while walking 4.2 batters per nine innings.
In a separate article, Slusser suggests the A’s could look at minor leaguers Sonny Gray or Andrew Werner to step in for Straily if needed.
The right-handed Gray was the team’s first-round draft choice in 2011. He has dominated at Triple-A so far this season, going 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts.
Werner, a left-hander, pitched briefly in the majors with the San Diego Padres last year before being traded to Oakland during the offseason. He is just 4-5 with a 6.92 ERA at Triple-A this season, but had a 3.57 career minor league ERA the previous four years combined.
Anderson told Slusser that while he is frustrated, he can’t dwell on his string of injuries or his current situation:
I can’t feel sorry for myself. That would be a waste of time. I’m still young, I’m 25. You never want to be labeled injury prone, but hopefully, I’ll get out there and make consecutive starts. I have the highest expectations for myself and I think I’m one of the better pitchers in the game when I’m healthy.
In baseball, players’ reputations are made from production. If Anderson can come back and pitch to his fullest potential, his snake-bitten past will recede from memory, which would surely be welcomed by both Oakland and the hobbled pitcher.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference