Cody Anderson's comeback from two surgeries and transition back to being a starting pitcher continues Friday night when the visiting Cleveland Indians open a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics.
Anderson's season debut as a starter was a disaster last week when he couldn't get out of the first inning against the Seattle Mariners, roughed up for four runs on two hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning last Sunday.
It was far less than even just the three-inning stint the Indians were hoping for when they promoted him from the minors on the eve of Sunday's game.
"They wanted to see how I'd bounce back," Anderson explained to reporters of his in-season stint in the minors after starting the year as an Indians reliever. "I'd throw three innings, throw a bullpen, and then throw three innings. Each time out it's been a little better. It's trending in the right direction."
The right-hander (0-1, 11.12 ERA) has faced the A's both as a starter and as a reliever in his career. He pitched well in a start in a 5-1 loss in Oakland in August of 2015, allowing just three earned runs (four total) in 6 2/3 innings.
Marcus Semien homered for the A's in that win.
After sitting out both the 2017 and '18 seasons following a pair of Tommy John procedures, the Northern California native hopes pitching in front of family and friends will help re-establish him as a starter.
Coincidentally, if Anderson needed any assurance such a successful comeback were possible, the A's put a Tommy John recipient of their own on display in Thursday's series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
The A's lost 3-0, but Chris Bassitt pitched brilliantly, striking out nine in 7 2/3 innings.
Bassitt, who has fought since his 2016 operation to re-establish himself as a major-leaguer, might as well have been talking to Anderson when he addressed the media afterward.
"Your stuff is not that good coming back from Tommy John and you have to learn to pitch," he noted. "When you're throwing 89, 91, 92 (mph), you've got to kind of learn to pitch without a really good fastball.
"Luckily for me, my fastball kind of came back and I was able to take what I learned from Tommy John and that whole process. When I'm back to throwing 95, 96 again, it makes life a whole heck of a lot easier."
The A's won two of three in an unusual series with the Reds, one that featured a no-hitter, a 90-minute delay caused by flickering lights and 13th-inning walk-off.
Right-hander Frankie Montas (4-2, 2.75) will seek to restore order to the six-game homestand when he gets the ball for Oakland.
Montas has pitched well in three of his home starts this season, with the A's winning all three.
He is coming off a fine road effort in a 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday, a game in which he held the Pirates to one run and five hits in six innings.
The A's took four of six from the Indians last season, going 2-1 at each site.
--Field Level Media
Anderson's latest step in comeback comes in Oakland