The Oakland Athletics announced last week that starter Brett Anderson will get to take the mound on Opening Day. However, does the four-year veteran deserve the honor considering what other pitchers did for the Athletics last season?
Anderson required 13 months away from baseball to rehabilitate his arm from undergoing Tommy John surgery after an injury on June 5, 2011. It was a big loss for Oakland considering the potential he has shown in the big leagues. However, the team was grateful for his return on Aug. 21 of last year because he was a breath of fresh air that helped propel the team into the postseason.
The 25-year-old went 4-2 with a 2.57 earned run average and 25 strikeouts in six starts before an oblique strain against the Detroit Tigers forced him to miss some more time. He was not able to make another start until Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Tigers. In that outing, he pitched six scoreless innings in which he surrendered only two hits and two walks in the victory.
Considering what Anderson was able to do for the Athletics last season and how he pitched in his lone playoff appearance, manager Bob Melvin knew it was a no-brainer who the Opening Day starter would be in 2013.
“Based on the guys that we have and how successfully he came back for us last year, we really feel like he’s the man to lead the staff,” Melvin said, according to ABCNews. “He worked hard to get back and put himself in a position to compete with us at a time of the season where there’s no easing into things. You got to be good right away, and he was. Then he gets hurt and we think he’s done, and he works just as hard to get back and pitch in a playoff game.”
Anderson is honored to receive the nod from his manager and is thankful that he is healthy heading into the season. There is no question he is the right man for the job after the guts he displayed last year. When the team needed someone to step up in important games he was there to deliver. Melvin is hoping his ace will be able to play the same role this year and inspire his teammates to go above and beyond the call.
Obviously, expectations are high in Oakland for the upcoming season and numerous quality acquisitions prove why fans should be excited to see the Athletics in action.