Anderson exits with back tightness; DL likely

Cubs lefty retires just one batter while allowing five runs against Yanks

Anderson exits with back tightness; DL likely

CHICAGO -- Cubs starter Brett Anderson is likely headed to the disabled list after feeling tightness in his lower back after he fielded a bunt by the second batter of Saturday's game, the Yankees' Aaron Hicks.

Anderson retired one of the seven batters he faced in the first inning of the Cubs' 11-6 Interleague loss to the Yankees. It's his second straight abbreviated outing; he lasted 1 1/3 innings Monday against the Phillies.

"I felt fine warming up, I felt fine coming into the game," Anderson said. "[Hicks] bunts, and I made a weird play and it stiffened up. With my history of back problems and everything considered, I didn't want to make it worse. I felt it was time to get out of there."

Relievers Felix Pena and Rob Zastryzny, who were called up from Triple-A Iowa on Friday and Saturday, respectively, tried to fill in for Anderson, but when they both ran out of gas, Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to catcher Miguel Montero to pitch the ninth. Montero, making his second career appearance on the mound, walked two of the five batters he faced but finished the inning without allowing a run.

Montero retires Refsnyder

"Whenever the backup catcher gets more outs than you, it's not positive," Anderson said. "You need to figure some things out and get healthy and get some more people out going forward. It's as simple as that."

Losing Anderson is the first major injury to the Cubs this season. Their options for starting pitching include Mike Montgomery, who is currently on the 25-man roster, and right-hander Eddie Butler, who threw six shutout innings on Saturday for Triple-A Iowa against Memphis. Butler struck out six and allowed four hits.

"We definitely have good options," Maddon said.

The Cubs also have a break in the schedule with two off-days in the next nine days.

This was the first time Anderson has experienced problems with his back this season. He missed nearly all of last year after needing back surgery in March 2016 for a herniated disk.

"The last two starts at home have been embarrassing from my perspective," Anderson said. "It's something you deal with. Unfortunately, I have a history of back issues, but this feels a little bit different. It's a different side, a little higher up. Hopefully, it's not a disk issue. I'll come in [Sunday] and go from there."

After Chase Headley hit a two-run double to open a 5-0 lead in the first, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio went to the mound and called for athletic trainer Ed Halbur. Anderson was then removed from the game.

"They're a good lineup and they made me pay," Anderson said. "I wanted to have a quality start based on my last outing when I didn't get very deep in the game. I didn't want to throw the new guys in that situation, and unfortunately I did."

This was the shortest outing of Anderson's career; he went one inning on Aug. 14, 2016, against the Pirates, which was his first start back following back surgery.

"I still think when I'm healthy, I'm a good pitcher," Anderson said. "It's a combination of things -- everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. I still have confidence in myself. I wouldn't be in the league this long if I haven't been able to put some things behind me and deal with the cards I've been dealt."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.