Brett Anderson had been the only player on the 25-man Opening Day roster without a World Series ring or the equity built up from being part of last year’s championship team. The Cubs viewed him as a relatively low-risk, high-reward gamble at the back of their rotation.
Anderson got booed off the Wrigley Field mound in the first inning his last time out, walking away from a blowout loss to the New York Yankees on May 6 that spiked his ERA to 8.18 and put him on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his lower back.
“I still have confidence in myself that when everything’s healthy, and when everything’s right, I can get people out,” Anderson said. “I just got to get there.”
A significant step will be Tuesday’s bullpen session, but the Cubs are in no rush with a lefty who’s been on the disabled list 10 times since 2010 and already undergone two surgical procedures on his lower back. Anderson said he’s pain-free and relieved that this got diagnosed as a muscle issue and not the kind of disc problem he’s dealt with before.
The Cubs are clearly intrigued by Eddie Butler’s immediate upside and long-term potential. But the change-of-scenery guy also followed up a great Cub debut – six scoreless innings in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium – by needing 92 pitches to get through three innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in an ugly, rain-soaked loss last week.
“That’s an evaluation,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Hopefully, nobody gets hurt, either. There are so many different variables involved. For me, the biggest thing is for him to be well, to go pitch, to be pitching well and then you make that decision.”
Maddon said Anderson – who’s working on a one-year, $3.5 million, incentive-laden deal tied to starts – “absolutely” will need to go on a rehab assignment.
“But we haven’t put pencil to paper or whatever in regards to doing that yet,” Maddon said. “He’s doing well. It shouldn’t be too long. It’s just a matter of him getting everything together and getting some work back in. So I don’t have a finish line. But I think he’s in pretty good shape moving forward.”