And then everyone let out a long, slow breath and relaxed. For today, anyway, and that’s something.
The Dodgers are a team that has already lost two starting pitchers to injury and then Monday night left-hander Brett Anderson -- who underwent back surgery last summer -- felt something bite in his back when he fielded a swinging bunt by Andrelton Simmons in the fourth inning, spun and fired to first.
The next inning, Manager Don Mattingly and trainer Stan Conte were summoned to the mound by catcher A.J. Ellis. Anderson’s back was pinching him and his mechanics were suddenly off.
Anderson, however, remained in the game and pitched through the seventh. Then he woke up Tuesday and there was no unwanted announcement from his back.
"Just general pitching soreness," Anderson said. "As long as nothing stands out from the rest, then I’m good. I got some treatment. They said as long as everything feels fairly normal, I’m good to go. So far nothing’s been out of the ordinary."
Anderson has a long history of injury issues. He’s made nine starts on schedule for the Dodgers this season, which is already the most he’s managed in one season since starting 13 times for the Oakland Athletics in 2011.
So you can understand the apprehension with the Dodgers and their beleaguered rotation when it comes to Anderson and his historically fragile health. He could grab his left earlobe and hearts could pause, let alone have his back call out.
Anderson, though, said he was not scared when he first felt his back stiffen Monday.
"No, it was a different side and a different area," he said. "It wasn’t like towards the disk or anything. It was just one of those weird plays that happens. It stiffened up a little bit and I got out of my mechanics. But once I was able to get back in and focus in, I was fine for the next two innings."
Anderson said the back tightened up above his buttock and below his rib cage.
"It’s just kind of in my love-handle-ish area," he said. "It’s tough to strain some fat."
His next outing will make his 10th consecutive start, something of uncharted territory.
“Yeah, but I can’t really think about it like that no more than I have most mornings for the past five years,” he said. “Just go out there -- cliché but -- and take it one start at a time. You can’t look at any different than that.
“As long as I’m able to go out there every five or six days and do my part, then I’ll look back at the end of the year and see how many innings I’ve thrown and how many starts I’ve made and all that good stuff.”
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