Bay Area Baseball

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August 18, 2013
A's, Indians lineups: Anderson edges closer to return

OAKLAND -- Left-hander Brett Anderson was in the A's clubhouse this morning after making his first rehab start at Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday night in his return from a right foot stress fracture. Anderson threw 49 pitches in 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. More important than the results, he said, is that there's no next-day pain in the foot.

"Threw all my pitches and my foot feels fine, my arm feels fine," Anderson said. "It's a big step looking forward."

Manager Bob Melvin said Anderson hit 94 mph and averaged 91 mph with his fastball and echoed that with this start the A's were just looking for Anderson to emerge healthy. Anderson will make another start Thursday, though it hasn't yet been decided where or what his pitch count will be.

After that it gets interesting. The A's were originally leaning toward bringing Anderson back as a reliever so he could return to the majors quicker. But with Bartolo Colon now on the disabled list, Melvin said the A's could bring Anderson back as a starter nearly as quickly and just make sure the bullpen is rested to back him up in his first few outings.

"I think the thing that's most important is we don't want to waste his bullets on rehab assignments," Melvin said. "We want to get him to the big leagues as soon as he can and as long as he's healthy and ready to go."

Asked if Anderson could make his next rehab start and, assuming everything goes well, be back with the A's after that, Melvin didn't rule it out.

"There could be a chance at that, but we want to make sure that he feels good after that one, where his pitch count was, what the results were," Melvin said. "A lot of factors to consider."

Anderson said he's open to either starting or relieving when he returns, but he's more accustomed to starting and going through his normal pre-game routine Saturday was "good in that aspect."

"The best thing was not having any pain anywhere, foot or arm or anything," Anderson said. "So just getting back on a mound in a competitive environment, that obviously was the best part.

"And then probably command -- it was a little shaky there in the second inning, but other than that it's nitpicking here and there. Get to my next start and start focusing on my pitches and stuff and try to get back here soon as possible."

* The A's officially placed Colon on the 15-day DL this morning with a left groin strain and recalled Tommy Milone to start today against Cleveland. Here's the lineup the A's have behind Milone:

SS Lowrie
C Norris
DH Donaldson
LF Cespedes
1B Freiman
CF Young
RF Reddick
3B Callaspo
2B Sogard

And the Indians lineup:

CF Stubbs
1B Swisher
2B Kipnis
DH Santana
RF Raburn
SS Cabrera
LF Brantley
C Gomes
3B Aviles

* With Coco Crisp (wrist) still out, Jed Lowrie gets his third start of the season batting leadoff. In his first two, he's 4-for-7 and has reached base in 7 of 11 plate appearances with a sacrifice bunt.

Melvin said Crisp could be available off the bench today and the A's are still targeting Monday for him to return to the lineup.

* Donaldson gets a rare day off from playing defense, having started 119 of the first 122 games at third, with Melvin wanting to make sure he's rested for the stretch.

* Two things from the game notes on Milone replacing Colon in the rotation today: It ends a streak of 13 consecutive games for the A's started by right-handers, their longest such streak since 1999. It also drops the average age of the A's rotation by nearly three years -- the average is now 24.4, and Milone (26) is actually the elder statesman.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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