Indians righty on target to be ready for regular season
By Jordan Bastian
CLEVELAND -- Cody Anderson was one of the Indians' feel-good stories last spring, when he followed up a strong rookie showing by winning a spot in the Opening Day rotation. Early-season struggles, followed by elbow issues in the middle of his campaign, then made for a challenging year for the right-hander.
On Thursday, the Indians announced that Anderson underwent an arthroscopic debridement of his right elbow on Wednesday at TMI Sports Medicine in Dallas, where Dr. Keith Meister performed the procedure. Anderson is expected to be able to initiate a throwing program in approximately eight weeks (early January), putting him on target to be ready in time for the regular season.
The elbow issue may explain some of Anderson's struggles this season.
After going 7-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 starts for Cleveland in 2015, Anderson arrived to Spring Training in much improved physical condition. One of the results of his offseason makeover was increased life on all of his pitches. From '15 to '16, Anderson added nearly 2 mph to all of his offerings. His four-seam fastball, for example, jumped to 95.1 mph this year compared to 93.3 mph in his rookie season.
Anderson's overall improvement in the spring convinced the Indians to name him their No. 4 starter at the outset of the season. After the right-hander posted a 7.65 ERA in April and went 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA in his first seven appearances, in which he allowed 10 home runs in 32 2/3 innings, he was pulled out of the rotation and sent back to Triple-A Columbus.
While in the Minors, Anderson had a stint on the disabled list from June 13-July 4 due to tightness in his right elbow. After logging six innings on June 2, Anderson did not exceed 3 2/3 innings in any of his final 21 appearances this year between the Minors and Majors. With the exception of a two-inning spot start Sept. 24, while Cleveland was sorting through a variety of rotation issues, Anderson was used exclusively as a reliever from July on at the Major League level.
After his time on the DL, Anderson appeared in 19 games between Columbus and Cleveland, posting a 3.26 ERA with 36 strikeouts and seven walks in 30 1/3 innings. While working as a reliever for the Indians, Anderson turned in a 4.34 ERA in 18 2/3 innings overall, striking out 19 and walking five in 10 outings. Overall, the pitcher went 2-5 with a 6.68 ERA in 19 games for the Tribe this year.
Anderson was on Cleveland's pitching staff for the American League Division Series and AL Championship Series, but was removed from the roster for the World Series. Still dealing with elbow discomfort, Anderson was diagnosed with an impingement in the back of the joint following the Tribe's postseason run. Dr. Meister confirmed the diagnosis and went forward with the surgery.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.