Brett Anderson is set to return to the Oakland Athletics — and they hope he’s bringing some sort of good luck charm with him this time around, too.
A’s fans have heard this one before, of course. Yet again, the team is set to gain an ace starter without having to trade for him at the deadline; and once again, the young lefty will be called on to serve an important role over the final stretch of the 2013, as the team looks to sprint to the finish against the Texas Rangers in the AL West race.
Exactly what that role is has yet to be determined (even though it’ll be much more beneficial for Oakland to get him back a starter), but whatever it is, you’d have to think they like their chances of Anderson stepping up.
However … there’s always a caveat, yes?
It just so happens that in this case, the caveat is something that not even all-world talent can overcome, and is entirely beyond the team and the 25-year-0ld’s control: health.
There’s really no need to go through the lengthy injury history on Anderson’s career in the bigs thus far, but let’s just say there’s a reason why reading stories of his comeback impact have basically been a regular yearly (or more frequent) ritual for A’s fans — and it’d probably be safe to say that the tone of these stories aren’t going to stay positive if the trend continues.
After all, there’s a big difference between an impact player and a guy who is perpetually poised to make an impact, and the middle ground is a slippery slope full of doubt and caution.
That’s the position that the A’s are taking with Anderson now as his return date from a sprained-ankle-turned-stress-fracture looms, as he is expected to be ready sometime in the middle (as a reliever) or the end (as a starter) of August after a rehab assignment. With no reports of his foot being an issue in his quest back to the majors, the news appear to be all good so far.
Oakland has reason to believe that it’ll end up staying that way this time, too.
Despite the history, the one thing that the A’s can take some comfort in when it comes to their lefty ace is that the reason for his time away in 2013 appears to be an outlier. Anderson’s most significant injury — the one that led him to Tommy John surgery — was one that’d had been looming since 2010.
An ankle injury (and a somewhat freakish one at that) is a long ways away from that, and as long as Anderson biggest asset — his arm — stays healthy, the Athletics have pretty good reason to think that maybe, the baseball gods will be on their side this time around.
Well, if he can finally learn to avoid line drives, anyway …