Anderson, 29, who has a history of back problems, was able to get only one batter out while giving up five runs in the Cubs’ 11-6 loss. It’s possible the left-hander tweaked his back fielding a bunt from Aaron Hicks, who laid one down after Brett Gardner opened the game with a double. Anderson promptly bounced the ball past first base, allowing Gardner to score, leading to a big inning for the Yankees.
Anderson has had two back surgeries in recent years and has been injury-prone since making it to the majors with the Oakland A’s in 2009. The Cubs did not indicate the severity of Anderson’s injury, but over his previous two starts he’s lasted a total of 1 2/3 innings while giving up 12 earned runs. His ERA ballooned to 8.18 after Saturday’s outing.
“Solid five, five-plus, six [innings], we’ll take it tonight,” manager Joe Maddon said before the game.
Maddon didn’t get even one inning out of Anderson. If he can’t make his next start, the Cubs have a couple of options, including sliding lefty Mike Montgomery into the starting rotation. Montgomery was discussed as a starter over the winter until the Cubs signed Anderson to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
The other option is to recall righty Eddie Butler from Triple-A Iowa, where he’s compiled a 1.46 ERA going into his start on Saturday. He would be on the same pitching schedule as Anderson and is probably the best starter in the Cubs’ minor league system. Butler opened eyes with an impressive spring training as well.