OAKLAND, Calif. – With parts of five major league seasons already under his belt, it’s fair to say Drew Anderson isn’t your average rookie.
On Saturday, the Rangers right-hander will make his second career start — and his first in more than three years — when he faces the Oakland Athletics. He’s hoping this time he’ll stick in the majors.
”Every time I came up, it just felt like a debut again because I’d just come up for one (appearance) and then go back down,” Anderson said. “So every time, it felt like a debut.”
The 27-year-old has made 12 career appearances in the big leagues, but never more than five in any single season. Saturday will mark Anderson’s third appearance this year for the Rangers. He didn’t allow a run in his first two outings, both out of the bullpen.
”We know this guy has a good arm,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s got a mid-90s fastball. His fastball has got a lot of life to it — obviously got a lot of hop, a lot of vertical. He’s got a couple of good breaking balls.”
A 21st round draft pick in 2012, Anderson made his big league debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017. After three years in Philadelphia, he spent last season with the Chicago White Sox but only made one appearance, allowing six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Anderson decided to regroup in the offseason by playing winter ball in Australia, an experience he credits for his resurgence this year.
”It was just cool to get over there and kind of get away from the game so much and just have fun, get back to being a kid,” he explained. “I actually did really well, had a lot of fun, boosted the confidence a little bit, and then came into Spring Training just ready to go.”
The Rangers signed Anderson to a minor league contract in January and he performed well at Triple-A Round Rock, going 4-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 14 appearances, including 12 starts. That earned him a call-up on July 30.
”I got the call and obviously (was) just really excited to get out there,” Anderson described. “To pitch in that brand new stadium was amazing. Even the turnout of the crowd, it was so cool. It was a cool experience.”
Added Woodward: “He was very open and receptive to trying to figure things out. Obviously, he pitched really well in Triple-A, and I like what I’ve seen at this level.”
Hernandez gets his shot: Speedy second baseman Yonny Hernandez made his major league debut Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels, going 0 for 2 with a walk.
The switch-hitting 23-year-old hit .250/.424/.323 in 61 games at Triple-A this year, stealing 21 bases in 31 attempts. That .424 on-base percentage was due to an incredible 51 walks in 251 plate appearances, a rate of better than 20%.
”His ability to take really close pitches that are just out of the strike zone is pretty remarkable,” Woodward praised. “I think that’s probably his biggest strength.”
Hernandez should get a good look over the final two months of the season, with the Rangers still looking for consistent production from the second base position.”
I think he’s pretty consistent from both sides (of the plate),” Woodward said. “He gives you a good at-bat both ways.”
Briefly: LHP John King was scheduled to start a rehab assignment Friday night. The reliever has been on the injured list since July 9 with left shoulder inflammation. “He feels 100%,” Woodward said. “It’s just a matter of getting him maybe one or two outings and hopefully getting him back here so he can pitch some innings for us.” … The Rangers will not have to worry about facing Ramón Laureano this weekend, or for the rest of the season. The A’s outfielder was suspended 80 games by MLB on Friday after testing positive for nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug.