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Reliever Anderson’s career finished

Posted Mar 13, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Mar 13, 2008 at 05:24 PM

FORT MYERS—Updating with the official diagnosis from the Rays: Brian Anderson has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and a torn flexor mass muscle, a career-ending injury. This is the third time Anderson has torn his UCL and the second time he has torn the flexor mass muscle.

Anderson had an MRI exam this morning after walking off the mound in the middle of an at-bat during yesterday’s game with the Yankees. He said he felt something break loose in his elbow and hoped it was just scar tissue.

Anderson, 35, was attempting a comeback after sitting out all of last season. Prior to that, he had Tommy John surgery twice in less than a year—on July 21, 2005 and July 14, 2006.

When the Rays signed him to a minor-league deal Jan. 31, they envisioned him working up to full speed gradually and perhaps helping the team a month or two into the regular season. But Anderson exceeded expecations throughout the early part of spring training and the Rays felt good enough about his progress to put him in a game well ahead of schedule. He pitched last Saturday against the Yankees and took three days off before going back out yesterday against New York.

Coming in for the sixth inning, he allowed hits to the first two batters he faced and said his elbow felt “strange.” He threw three pitches to the next batter, Bobby Abreu, and walked off the mound. Knowing it could be the end, he was matter-of-fact in addressing the matter yesterday afternoon.

“There’s only two ways to look at it,” he said. “You hope and pray it’s scar tissue. If it’s not, there’s nothing to even talk about. It would be the bad one and you move on from there.”

Maddon, who worked with Anderson when the pitcher was just starting out in the Angels organization in the early 1990s, seemed shaken by the news. He said he planned to call Anderson during the Rays’ bus ride back to St. Petersburg.

“It’s really a big disappointment,” said Maddon. “He was doing so well and we were starting to count on the fact that he was really going to be able to help us this year. It really was looking like he would be able to, both on the mound and in the clubhouse. Exceptional young man. It’s really a tough one, because he was really excited about this, he came here in great shape, he did all the right things. It just did not want to work out for him.”

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