Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Matt Anderson sighting

Matt Anderson: Still throwing hard,
still doesn't know where it's going.
If you remember Matt Anderson,  odds are that you're a longtime Tigers fan, an aficionado of power-pitching prospects, or simply a sucker for goofy injury stories.

The Tigers selected Anderson in the 1997 draft with the No. 1 overall pick. He was gifted with a right arm that threw thunderbolts — some radar gun readings are said to have clocked his fastball at 103 mph. He reached the majors the next season (1998) but never accomplished what the fastball suggested he could. He got hurt; he last pitched in the majors in 2005 and faded from organized ball in 2008.

The legend says he wrecked his shoulder throwing octopui in a promotional appearance linked to the Red Wings' Stanley Cup run. Anderson denies it; in truth, no matter how he got hurt, he never had the control or command to be a standout pitcher in the majors.

Now, at the age of 34, he's trying one more time. He signed a minor league deal with the Phillies; he's not even a non-roster invitee. He still throws hard, however, and no matter how checkered the past, teams will always look closely at somebody who can heave the horsehide in the upper 90s.

I saw Anderson pitch Sunday against the Twins, and it was not pretty. He got one out among two hits, a walk, a hit batter and two wild pitches (there was also an error made behind him). He's made three appearances for the big club this spring: 1.2 innings, five hits, ERA 16.20.

Some careers are just not meant to be.

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