Brett Anderson hopes to win over Cubs fans with his pitching
MESA, Ariz. -- Brett Anderson says he likes Cubs fans, and he wants Cubs fans to like him, too.
The bearded left-hander wasn't feeling quite so charitable last October when he was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the Cubs won Game 6 of the National League championship series to eliminate the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, Anderson went on Twitter to take some Cubs fans to task.
"Real classy cubs fans throwing beer in the Dodgers family section. Stay classy (bleeping) idiots," he tweeted.
After working in the bullpen Monday morning, Anderson said he didn't mean all Cubs fans, only the few whom he said threw beer on the visiting team's family members.
"Obviously I wasn't in the stands," he said. "There were some beers thrown where the families were. I'm going to stick to my family and my side. Rightfully so, some of the Cubs fans were mad. But I wasn't calling out the whole stadium. It was just whoever threw the beer on the family section.
"Everybody has their fans and they're kind of rowdy and unruly. That just happened to be a situation. You like those people on your side. I played in Oakland, and they had some of the rowdiest fans in the playoffs. The Cubs fans, just visiting there, it's a fun crowd to play (before) because it's an intimate setting and you feel like they're right on top of you and so loud. It will be fun to have those people on your side."
Anderson signed a one-year contract with the Cubs in January. Now that he's a Cub, Job 1 is trying to win a spot in the rotation as the fifth starter. He is battling with his catch-playing buddy, Mike Montgomery, another lefty.
Health will be the issue to watch with the 29-year-old Anderson. He appeared in only 4 games for the Dodgers last season because of arthroscopic surgery in March to repair a bulging disc in his back. For his career, Anderson is 38-43 with a 3.86 ERA in 127 games (115 starts) with Oakland, Colorado and the Dodgers.
"You're not out there trying to blow the doors off in a bullpen (session)," he said. "You can only do so much. Your adrenaline is only so high, especially at 7:45 (a.m.). I like my chances. I think I'm a good pitcher when I'm healthy. That's been the biggest issue my whole career. When I'm healthy and able to go out there and do my work and consistently pitch, I like the pitcher that I am.
"Whoever the fifth starter is, it's going to be a formidable rotation just based off the track record of the all the guys we have in camp. It's good to have healthy competition."
Manager Joe Maddon saw Anderson in 2009, when Anderson came up with Oakland, going 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA. Maddon said he is not concerned about the results early in spring-training games.
"To pitch well early is not a concern; health is," Maddon said. "Guys with the great track record like that, and he's not that old, you watch him (in the bullpen) and he looks fine.
"I don't get overly enamored with spring-training evaluations. I learned that years ago that you can be seriously fooled, both ways."
Anderson has a history of injuries. He had elbow surgery in 2011 and the first of two back surgeries in 2014.
He is the son of former Oklahoma State baseball coach Frank Anderson, and he said his status as a baseball lifer helped in the tough times.
"I'm a baseball guy," he said. "It kind of sounds cliché, being a baseball player. I don't have as much service time as some of these guys, but I've been at the field probably more so than any of these guys just because I've been going to the field since I could walk and talk and annoying college kids. I could take that one or two ways. I could get burned out quick and shy away from baseball, or I could eat it up. Fortunately for me, I've eaten it up all the way through, just liking baseball and being competitive.
"I haven't lived up to my own expectations. If I can do that, it's going to be beneficial for everybody."
• Follow Bruce's Cubs and baseball reports on Twitter @BruceMiles2112.