Monday, September 15, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A spring baseball story to make you smile

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In the eighth inning Monday, Matt Anderson faced three Toronto Blue Jays hitters who have never played above single A. Aged 22, 20 and 22, they were kids when Anderson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft and could throw 103 m.p.h.

A spring baseball story to make you smile

Matt Anderson was the first overall pick in the 1997 draft. (Duane Burleson/AP Photo)
Matt Anderson was the first overall pick in the 1997 draft. (Duane Burleson/AP Photo)

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In the eighth inning Monday, Matt Anderson faced three Toronto Blue Jays hitters who have never played above single A. Aged 22, 20 and 22, they were kids when Anderson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft and could throw 103 m.p.h.

But when Travis D'Arnaud swung and missed at an Anderson breaking ball, the 34-year-old pitcher literally jumped off the mound. He pumped his fist and ran into the Phillies dugout.

Matt Anderson had not pitched in an organized game of baseball since 2008 after tearing a muscle under his armpit in 2002. He last pitched in the majors six years ago. In the eighth inning Monday, he hit 95 m.p.h. on the radar gun and retired the side in order.

"It was totally awesome," Anderson said. "You can't really put into words what I'm feeling right now. It's something I've been going to bed with the last two years thinking about and it finally came around."

More coverage
 
Phillies beat Blue Jays, 6-3
 
High Cheese: Five observations from Dunedin
 
The Phillies Zone: This week's pitching schedule
 
High Cheese: Projecting the Phillies roster
 
Phil Sheridan: Clock is ticking on Utley, Phils
 
Paul Hagen: Utley injury gives life to Young rumors
 
Inside the Phillies: Middle relievers no cause for worry
 
Did Werth say he hates the Phillies?

Could this be the last time we even mention Matt Anderson this spring? Sure. But during the eighth inning of a meaningless Grapefruit League game on a sun-soaked Monday afternoon in Florida, a 34-year-old man proved he could still do it.

It's a spring training story that can make you smile.

Wearing No. 88, Anderson said he expects to make the Phillies out of spring training. He talked a mile a minute until a Phillies PR official abruptly ended the interview so Anderson could catch the team bus back to Clearwater.

"In the winter, I was at 96, 97 [mp.h.]," Anderson said. "So I figure I got about 103, 104, 105 left in me. So I'm really excited about where I'm at."

He smiled. No, Matt Anderson did not win a roster spot Monday. Hell, he barely even moved the needle. But Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee probably saw enough to merit another big-league appearance soon this spring. And if that one goes well too, who knows?

"I mean, hell, he got three outs," Manuel said.

And on Monday, that's all that mattered.


Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.

Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected