Oakland Athletics left-hander Brett Anderson is on track to be the starting pitcher when they take the field on Monday, April 1st for the A’s first game of the season. He’ll toe the mound against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners as his first Opening Day assignment – normally a daunting task for any pitcher, but magnified with the anticipation of starting the season off on the right foot.
Anderson had his final Cactus League warm-up game on Monday, and told CSN Bay Area A’s insider Casey Pratt that he felt great afterwards – which is a very positive sign considering Anderson’s lengthy history of arm injuries, the most significant being the Tommy John surgery he required in June 2011, which sidelined him for the rest of that season and well into 2012.
With his trademark wit, Anderson quipped that in his final Spring Training game his breaking ball was “kind of nonexistent, which is tough when you throw quite a few of them”. When he’s at his most effective, Anderson possesses a particularly nasty slider and curve.
He’s ready to put it all out there on Monday, being quoted as saying “It’s going to be exciting. I’m excited for the crowd, hopefully it’s kind of what it was in the playoffs last year.”
Of course, heading into 2013 the A’s could have gone with Jarrod Parker for Opening Day.
Parker, 24, pitched well for Oakland in two of the team’s American League Division Series games against the Detroit Tigers – specifically, the first and fifth games of the series, matching up against Justin Verlander each time. That would usually qualify a pitcher as a team’s “ace”, but since the A’s have so many extremely talented young pitchers (don’t forget about Tommy Milone) it’s not that hard to justify Anderson as the A’s best option for Opening Day 2013.
Manager Bob Melvin agrees. As he told CSN Bay Area, “We knew coming into camp that there was an excellent chance, even before he got on the field, that he’d be our Opening Day starter.”