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Former No. 1 overall pick Matt Anderson hoping comeback leads to spot in Phillies’ bullpen

Mar 7, 2011, 11:47 AM EDT

Matt Anderson

Matt Anderson was a bust of a No. 1 overall pick for the Tigers in 1997, posting a 5.19 ERA in 257 career innings and throwing his last big-league pitch at age 28 despite lighting up radar guns with a high-90s (and sometimes low-100s) fastball.

He was last seen coughing up 17 runs in 10 innings for the Rockies in 2005 and hasn’t pitched anywhere since a stint in the Puerto Rican winter league several years ago, but now Anderson is making a comeback attempt with the Phillies and he’s actually starting to generate some buzz.

Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Anderson is consistently working at 94-96 miles per hour so far in camp and the 34-year-old reliever talked about the renewed focus on baseball that came after being forced out of the game before he was ready. It’s definitely an interesting comeback story and teams will always be intrigued by a mid-90s fastball, but Anderson is facing long odds to crack a Phillies pitching staff that already has plenty of depth.

  1. seanmk - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Matt Anderson is throwing really hard, but it’s really straight. Watched Anderson make his return to Lakeland, where he began his professional career with the Detroit Tigers. One pitch was registered at 99 m.p.h. on the scoreboard radar gun. The others were clocked at 94-96 m.p.h. and that’s admirable considering he hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since 2005.

    But the balls were flying off Tigers’ bats Sunday: three hard singles and a deep fly ball to the warning track. He mixed in a few breaking balls, but no one was biting.

    Here’s the thing: It’s hard to ignore the velocity, for sure. That’s why the Phillies will gladly save a roster spot at triple-A Lehigh Valley for Anderson. Should he be willing to go to the minors for the first couple of months and prove he can get veteran hitters out, maybe there is a spot for him in the majors. Beyond that, don’t expect much from Anderson.

  2. mss16 - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    wow, you just lifted your entire comment, word for word, from Philly.com;
    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies_zone/Three_Thoughts_Stutes_Cameron_Anderson.html

    • cur68 - Mar 7, 2011 at 5:16 PM

      Burn! Well see if you can find this one anywhere; he’ll make the roster for the Phills who’ll promptly trade him to the Yankees for some young hitting talent. No one else is as desperate for what Anderson has to offer and the Yanks have what the Philthys want; young hitters. Come on, you can see it , right?

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