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OAKLAND -- Brett Anderson took the mound for the first time since straining his right oblique on September 19 in Detroit. The injury occurred 12 days ago and he is already throwing from a mound. That is a good sign that Anderson could be ready to pitch in the American League Wild Card game if the A's end up there. That game would take place on Friday. Anderson, 24, has been playing long toss but taking the mound gives the A's a better way to gauge how ready he is. "My arm felt good, my body feels good, my legs and core are strong," Anderson said. "As long as this oblique is fine tomorrow I should be good to go."
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The A's have reason to be confident in Anderson's ability to pitch. He hasn't been out that long and he went 4-0 in his first four starts after missing 14 months with "Tommy John" surgery on his left elbow. Anderson is 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA, 25 strikeouts and just seven walks in six starts this season. He is the most experienced pitcher in the starting rotation. If anything, the oblique kept his arm rested. "My arm hasn't felt this good in forever," Anderson said. "We'll see how my oblique feels tomorrow, do some treatment and go from there."Anderson has started 68 games in his career. The rest of the pitchers currently in the A's starting rotation have 108 starts combined. Dan Straily would be on turn to start on Friday, but the A's have a day off on Thursday so they could elect to go with Tommy Milone. Throwing Anderson out there could be a risky move. "There's always that possibility but we just don't want to get ahead of ourselves," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We certainly don't want to push a guy if we feel like there's some lingering soreness in the area. To this point there isn't, but you never know how he is going to feel tomorrow.""That's not up to me but I felt good today," Anderson said. "My stuff was good, big day tomorrow."The night Anderson strained his right oblique he said it would be a good story if he could pitch in the one-game playoff. He wants to make sure the team knows he is an option. Anderson has never pitched in the postseason before and understands it's an opportunity that doesn't come around too often. "I've never been to the playoffs and you try to push it and do everything you can to help your team get there and hopefully win some games once you do get there," Anderson said. "But you don't want to hurt it where next thing you know you are out, or you have to have surgery or something crazy like that." So far Anderson has cleared another hurdle toward returning. All they can do now is wait and see how his oblique bounces back from the throwing session.