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A’s add Anderson, name Graveman Opening Day starter

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Los Angeles Angels vs Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (49) throws a pitch in the first inning as the Los Angeles Angels face the Oakland Athletics for the Athletics Opening Night at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2017.

Less than one week after reclaiming former ace Trevor Cahill off the free agent heap the Athletics have added his 2009-11 Oakland rotation mate Brett Anderson.

The A’s and Anderson agreed to a minor-league deal Tuesday, according to SFGate’s Susan Slusser.

Anderson, 30, made 13 appearances (all starts) in 2017 splitting his time between the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays. The lefty has struggled to rediscover the early success he enjoyed in Oakland, going 26-29 with a 3.81 ERA in 84 outings (73 starts) spanning his first five big league seasons, but he has been significantly more effective in the junior circuit.

In 91 appearances in the American League, Anderson has hurled his way to a 3.90 ERA and 1.293 WHIP, comparing favorably to his 4.31 ERA and 1.447 WHIP in the National League.

With Jharel Cotton set to miss the entire 2018 season, requiring Tommy John surgery, and Chris Bassitt instilling little confidence in his return from 2016 Tommy John surgery, 7.11 ERA and 2.211 WHIP in six relief appearances this spring, the addition of Anderson gives Oakland a veteran insurance policy out of the minor leagues.

Anderson appears ticketed to join Daniel Gossett (who boasts just 91-1/3 innings of major league experience) and A.J. Puk (who has none) as the on-call starters in the minors should any of the prospective Opening Day starters suffer injury or ineffectiveness.

Along with adding that insurance policy, manager Bob Melvin announced his Opening Day starter Tuesday.

For the second year in a row, Kendall Graveman will get the ball to start game one, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com.

The move comes with little to no surprise, given Graveman’s experience and the lack thereof from all other Oakland starters. The 27-year-old four-year vet made the first Opening Day start of his career last year when Sonny Gray began the season on the disabled list. He battled a shoulder injury and some accompanying inconsistency in 2017, finishing the campaign 6-4 with a 4.19 ERA. But he whittled that ERA down considerably down the stretch, allowing five earned runs in 21 innings (2.14 ERA) over his last four starts of the year.

The title of ace and role of Opening Day starter were all but certainties for Graveman entering spring. Along with Sean Manaea and Cahill, Graveman will be tasked with leading a young rotation.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s sports director and Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.

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