Already facing the prospect of beginning the 2016 season without Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching staff lost another member on Thursday as Brett Anderson underwent arthroscopic surgery for a bulging disk in his back.
Anderson is expected to be sidelined three to five months. The 28 year old was sent for an exam on Wednesday after feeling discomfort in his back while throwing live batting practice on Tuesday.
Anderson was coming off a full season for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2009 with the Oakland Athletics.
He accepted the Dodgers’ one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer as a gamble on himself to test free agency after 2016, when the class of starting pitchers won’t be nearly as deep as it was this past winter.
Although there were some signs of trouble after Tuesday’s live BP, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Anderson were surprised at the outcome, per Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
“I was surprised. I was shocked,” Roberts said. “Talking to him two days ago and also yesterday morning, he thought it was a couple-days thing and it was going to subside. But obviously, to be cautious we get some images. That’s what we came up with. … He said it wasn’t near the sensation he had before,” Roberts said. “I think he was just as surprised as anyone.”
According to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the probability of Anderson needing a second back surgery was relatively low:
“Going through the diagnosis yesterday, we were told the chance of recurrence of something like this was pretty low, something around 10 percent of the time,” Zaidi said.
Anderson’s laundry list of injuries include a Tommy John surgery in July 2011, oblique strain in September 2012 soon after returning from the elbow operation, broken left index finger in April 2014 and season-ending back surgery that August.
The southpaw was 10-9 over 31 starts last season with a 3.69 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 3.51 xFIP, 1.33 WHIP and an MLB-best 66.3 ground ball percentage. In the process, Anderson set new career highs in starts (31) and innings pitched (180.1).