MLB: Anderson hopes to continue his MLB career with Braves
Nick Anderson spending a successful spring training with the Atlanta Braves.
Brainerd High School graduate Nick Anderson has a simple goal this season as a pitcher in Major League Baseball spring training with the Atlanta Braves.
“I just want to have fun and enjoy the game with my teammates,” Anderson said by phone Thursday, March 16, after an exhibition game in Florida. “I’m finally feeling pretty good and I’m getting back to my routine.”
Feeling good is a relief for Anderson, who has been on the comeback trail the past 18 months since undergoing right elbow surgery in September of 2021.
“My arm feels solid this spring,” said Anderson, who has compiled a 3.60 earned-run average with 10 strikeouts in five appearances for the Braves this spring. “I’m not thinking about (pitching) mechanics too much. I still have to break some bad habits since I have been rehabbing for almost two years. But I have some things that I can correct on the fly.”
Anderson had been a dominant relief pitcher from a period of 2019-2021 with the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins when he compiled a 2.89 ERA with 137 strikeouts and eight saves in 93 games.
Anderson last played in a MLB game on Sept. 26, 2021. He eventually had surgery on his sore elbow and pitched for two minor league teams, including the Durham Bulls. He compiled a 5.19 ERA in 19 games.
He signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract last November from the Braves.
“The biggest thing is I took some time off after last season and this winter to let my body heal,” he said. “I even came back (to Brainerd) a couple times to snowmobile. So right now, my arm feels way better than I did last year.”
Does the 32-year-old Anderson think about his “window of opportunity” while at training camp?
“Age doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I will play as long as I can. I don’t like to give up. I’ve been playing (since youth baseball in Brainerd). I really don’t know what I would be doing without baseball.”
Anderson has improved his chance of being on Atlanta’s opening day roster with an admirable spring season, including earning a preseason win March 10 against his former team in a 3-2 win over the Rays.
“I didn’t even realize it right away,” Anderson said of the pitching win. His 10 strikeouts were also fourth on the Braves, a most among non-starters, through March 16. “I’m not a statistics guy,” he said. “I do try to strike everyone out.”
Atlanta will be making its final roster decisions before the MLB regular season opener March 30 at Washington.
“I’m playing it by ear,” said Anderson, who added that “he didn’t find out until training camp broke” in 2019 when he made his MLB debut with the Marlins.