Brett Anderson believes Dodgers' gamble will pay off

Brett Anderson believes Dodgers' gamble will pay off
Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson throws during a workout at Camelback Ranch on Feb. 20. (John Locher / Associated Press)

On a recent day at the Dodgers' spring-training complex, Brett Anderson wondered how his career might have unfolded if not for the various injuries that kept him off the field in recent years.

Glancing over at Clayton Kershaw, Anderson said, "Obviously, in a perfect scenario, I'd be like my guy over here, Clayton, being the similar age and kind of breaking in at the same time."


Their first full seasons in the major leagues were in 2009, with both left-handers showing tremendous promise.

Their paths diverged from there. Now with his third team at the age of 27, Anderson is viewed as a major gamble for the Dodgers, who will pay him $10 million in hopes he can remain uncharacteristically healthy and be their fourth or fifth starter.

His status in the game has been diminished, but only in everyone else's eyes.

"Not to be egotistical or arrogant, but I think I'm a good pitcher," he said. "When I have been able to go out there, I've been pretty successful."

Anderson said he still thinks he can be one of the best at what he does.

"I want to have my name mentioned up there with who you would least like to face or who you think some of the best pitchers are," he said. "I want to be in that conversation."

Anderson was 11-11 with a 4.06 earned-run average over 30 starts as a rookie with the Oakland Athletics in 2009. He pitched 175 1/3 innings.

His innings counts in the years that followed: 112 1/3, 83 1/3, 35, 44 2/3 and 43 1/3.

With his most recent season ending prematurely because of a herniated disk in his back that required surgery, the Colorado Rockies paid him a $1.5-million severance fee rather than exercise his $12-million option.

Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi was familiar with Anderson from their days together in Oakland and believed he was worth the gamble. Zaidi considers Anderson one of the top left-handers in baseball when healthy. Anderson has a career earned-run average of 3.73 in 92 games, including 81 starts.

The Dodgers were also encouraged that Anderson hasn't had any serious arm trouble since he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in 2011.

"Fluky" is how Anderson described his recent ailments.

Before the herniated disk, there was a broken finger he suffered while hitting. The previous season, he fractured his foot.

"I think it'd be more frustrating if it had been one reoccurring thing or multiple arm injuries or something like that," Anderson said. "I still tell people I think I'm the only guy to break his finger hitting and have the bat not break. It's just crazy stuff. The disk was random. I asked the doctor if I could have done anything to prevent this and, no, it was just kind of the perfect amount of torque at the right time. The foot deal a couple years ago was kind of random, too. I put in a lot of work this off-season, got stronger, and hopefully it will pay off."


Another gamble

Brandon Beachy isn't expected to return from his second Tommy John surgery until the middle of the season, but the Dodgers signed the former Atlanta Braves right-hander to a one-year contract guaranteed for $2.75 million.

Beachy, 28, didn't pitch last season because of his elbow problems. He was non-tendered in the off-season by the Braves, who didn't want to engage him in a potentially expensive arbitration process.

He made a career-high 25 starts in 2011 and was 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA. That season, he averaged 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

His contract includes a team option for 2016 that could be worth anywhere from $3 million to $6 million, depending on how many games he pitches. If Beachy pitches 10 or more innings this season and the Dodgers decline the option, they would have to pay him a $250,000.

Medical report

Zack Greinke still hasn't thrown a bullpen session in camp, as he is recovering from a "lubricating" injection he received in his right elbow Thursday.

The Dodgers downplayed the significance of the procedure, issuing a written statement that said Greinke would be back on his normal routine "in a few days."

Greinke has complained of discomfort in his elbow and forearm in his previous two springs with the Dodgers and Manager Don Mattingly characterized the injection as "just part of what the plan was for him."

Greinke received similar injections last year and the year before, according to Mattingly.

Reliever Joel Peralta also hasn't thrown off the mound since reporting to camp. Peralta recently felt discomfort in his right shoulder, prompting the Dodgers to shut him down. Peralta said he was examined by the team's medical staff, which has cleared him to throw on flat ground Sunday.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez