OAKLAND -- Brett Anderson pitched so well on Tuesday that his teammates gave him a commemorative baseball as a reward. OK, that may be an overstatement, the ball was given to him as a joke, honoring his first strikeout in a professional game since June 5. It's still a big achievement, and one he was proud to point out. "I finally struck somebody out," Anderson said. "They kind of made a joke, gave me a ball, it says congrats first K since June 5, 422 days."The ball says "woo hoo" and displays other sarcastic phrases. Anyone that follows Anderson on Twitter knows a gesture of that sort is right up his alley. On a more serious note, Anderson threw 73 pitches and felt like he made significant progress. The left-handed pitcher lasted four innings, allowing four hits and two runs. The results aren't as important as how he feels though -- and he feels good. "It's always better to worry about what my pitches are doing and how your stuff is, rather than is my elbow going to feel bad today," he said. "It's always a good thing."Anderson had Tommy John surgery on July 14, 2011. He is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Next, he will start Sunday in Sacramento, and that is all he knows for sure. After a year of doctor visits, rehabilitation, and poking and prodding from various trainers, he is happy to be back on a more typical routine. "You feel like a normal pitcher," Anderson said. "You're back on your five days and you're getting on a routine. I'm not really worried what my arm is doing I'm worried what my pitches are doing."The A's say they'd like to see Anderson work his way up to around 100 pitches in game action before they'd consider bringing him back. That could happen in his next two starts. He could soon be joining a rotation that is already leading the American League in ERA. "I keep joking around that I don't know what's going to happen because there are so many guys pitching well in front of me," Anderson said. "Especially with (Brandon) McCarthy coming back, it's sort of an embarrassment of riches."The A's haven't entertained the idea of a six-man rotation, but Anderson said he wouldn't be opposed to it. The team will have some good, but tough decisions to make soon, McCarthy could be ready to join the rotation as soon as next week, and Anderson is right behind him. NOTES- Brandon McCarthy will throw a bullpen on Thursday, and will pitch Saturday for the Triple-A River Cats. - Coco Crisp made significant progress Wednesday as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Expect him back soon. - Cliff Pennington had a good day, he will take batting practice on the field Thursday and likely begin a rehab assignment with Sacramento on Friday. - Dallas Braden played catch on Wednesday for the first time after suffering from a groin strain.