Anderson's unforgettable return to mound

Anderson's unforgettable return to mound
August 22, 2012, 6:25 am
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OAKLAND -- After 14 months away from the Major Leagues it would be hard to script a more special return to the mound for Brett Anderson. The 24-year-old lefty looked like he never underwent the season-ending "Tommy John" surgery that derailed his 2011 season. Anderson tossed seven innings of one-run ball earning a win that was 443 days in the making as the A's defeated the Twins 4-1. After countless hours spent rehabbing, being poked at and examined by doctors, stretched out, throwing under careful watch, side sessions, some simulated games, and six rehab starts, Anderson returned to the Major Leagues with a vengeance. "You remember your debut and this is kind of like my second debut," Anderson said. "It is always going to be special and I'll remember it forever."Anderson faced one over the minimum in his seven innings pitched. He allowed just four hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out six. Even though Anderson hadn't pitched in the big leagues since June 5, 2011, he turned in one of the best performances of his career."I thought he was about as good as you can be for the first time out," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I know talking to a lot of the players that he can be as dominating as anybody we have here."The A's couldn't have been more correct in their assessment of Anderson after he threw his final side session on Saturday. He clearly was ready to return. Anderson induced 13 ground ball outs and didn't record a single fly out. The only run that Anderson allowed scored when Norris couldn't handle one of Anderson's sliders. It was ruled a wild pitch."I felt pretty good," Anderson said. "The slider was pretty good, got some strikeouts, early contact on the fastballs. Just mixed and matched and made some pitches when I had to."Five of the six strikeouts Anderson recorded were on sliders. Anderson's fastball topped out at 93 mph, he also effectively worked in his curveball and a change-up.The big test for Anderson was just working through the first inning nerves. He allowed two singles in the opening frame and then retired nine straight batters. "Just getting out there and getting on the mound again, throwing a pitch in the big leagues was kind of a relief," Anderson said.As if Anderson's first start back couldn't have been any more special, the A's defense bailed him out with a triple play in the fifth inning. It was the 21st triple play in A's franchise history, the eighth in Oakland history."I was extremely excited," Anderson said of the rare feat. "I don't know if I've seen a triple play, let alone be on a mound for it, so it's pretty awesome and it kind of propelled me for the last couple innings."Anderson is now 1-0 and has a fresh start on his career. His last Major League win came on May 26, 2011 against the Angels. After surviving most of the season with four rookies in the starting rotation the A's now have three veterans in the starting staff for the stretch run -- Bartolo Colon, Brandon McCarthy, and Anderson. The A's are a season-high tying 10 games over .500 (66-56) and they are armed and dangerous.

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