The speculation can now finally come to a rest as the Oakland Athletics announced that pitcher Brett Anderson has been activated from the 60 day DL, and Tommy Milone has been optioned back to Triple A Sacramento. In a move that feels eerily similar to what we witnessed in August of 2012 when Anderson made his return from Tommy John surgery, the A’s are hoping Anderson will provide a significant lift for the team as it makes its final push for the postseason.
Last year Anderson gave the Athletics six strong starts down the stretch, posting a 2.57 ERA in his 35 innings of work with a 4-2 record. His return to Oakland wasn’t without its issues though, as an oblique injury suffered in Detroit in mid-September sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season. He did pitch in the ALDS though and helped guide the A’s to a victory in Game 3.
This time Anderson’s role isn’t quite so clear. His injury had nothing to do with his arm, but was a foot and ankle injury suffered early on in the season. He tried to pitch through it, giving the A’s five solid innings in the marathon 19 inning game versus the Angels back on April 29th. He had been scratched from the start that day, but was put into the game in a desperate situation for the A’s. He wasn’t seen again until now.
Anderson may ease his way back into the A’s pitching staff by working out of the bullpen to begin with. But I would bet on him making some starts for the A’s during the month of September. This is a big move for the A’s, because just like last year it’s as if they are making a trade for a new pitcher. Though Anderson was rather ineffective early on, posting a 6.21 ERA in 28 innings before going down, he has the talent to be much more of a contributor.
The demotion of Milone likely was a virtue of making the start yesterday, and having already used an option this year. I don’t believe his stay in Sacramento will be lengthy.
With Anderson now back, and Bartolo Colon returning Thursday, the A’s are getting healthy at just the right time. Let’s hope they stay that way.