Spring Training is an interesting time. For some players, they're fighting with their own teammates for those precious spots on the 25-man Opening Day roster, and every at bat, every pitch, every chance in the field is of paramount importance. For other players, those spots are already assured, and they're able to work on some things without the pressure of needing to produce results every day. Chase Anderson falls into the latter category, having been assured of a spot in the Brewers' starting rotation by Craig Counsell. While Anderson is grateful for that opportunity, he's certainly not taking it for granted.
"I take it as I'm always earning a spot, because if you get complacent in this game, a lot of things can happen and the next week you're sitting on the couch watching the Brewers on TV instead of being in the dugout," Anderson said Friday. "They traded for me for a reason, but I still have to come here and earn it."
Anderson, acquired from Arizona in the trade that sent Jean Segura to the desert, struggled again Friday, allowing four runs (one earned) on seven hits in four innings. His ERA for the spring now sits at 10.13, and would be much higher but for a Ryan Braun error in the first inning that caused three of the four runs he surrendered Friday, including a two-run home run, to be unearned.
"I should have made a better pitch to get out of that because Brauny catches that ball all day long," Anderson said. "He apologized and I go 'Man no, I should have picked you up on that.' That's what teammates do when someone makes an error, you try to pick them up."
Anderson has now allowed four home runs in his last three outings, but he said he's not concerned about that just yet. "No not really, just because I know the mistale I made and I know how to fix it," Anderson said. "It was just a bad pitch, I didn't execute. I have to learn to pitch down in the zone better, especially in those situations with guys on base, I have to try to get the ground ball."
Prior to the game, Counsell praised Anderson on the adjustments he made in his previous start, when he allowed four run in three innings of work against Cleveland. "His last start I thought was a good one because I love seeing adjustments made in the game in Spring Training," Counsell said. "I think that's what a Spring Training game is for, to kind of take a step forward all the time.
"I thought he took a step forward with the way he pitched last time. The changeup is the bread and butter for him and I think as you start to get closer to the bell ringing you start to go to your bread and butter more. But for Chase, I think it's important still that we try to move his other pitches forward."
Again, and I can't stress this enough, Spring Training stats don't really matter. There's too much else going on to rightly judge players based on numbers as they prepare for the regular season. Counsell reiterated that after the game Friday. "It's three in a row where the first inning has got him a little bit, and after he gets through that first inning it's been pretty good," Counsell said. "Scouting reports will help that certainly, pitch selection, when we get into the season."
For his part, Anderson acknowledged that while he's still working on some specific things, he'd like to see better results. "It depends on what you think 'well' is," he said. "For progression, I think so, for a Spring Training atmosphere I think so. I can work on pitches and do things that usually you can't do when you're trying to compete for a spot. But I wouldn't say well, no. I think I have a lot to improve on."
Cactus League Updates
- Injury updates: 2B Scooter Gennett, who went 3-for-3 in his Cactus League debut on Thursday, will start and play second base tomorrow, according to Counsell. He also said there's no new news on RHP Yhonathan Barrios, who will start the season on the DL. They are still awaiting results from a second opinion on his injured shoulder.
- Counsell said that he views LHP Chris Capuano, who is fighting for a spot in the Brewers bullpen, as more of a potentially multi-inning reliever than as a left-handed specialist. "If you look across the game, I think the one batter guys are disappearing," Counsell said. "His role is to get outs. His history shows ... if you're starting, it's because you can handle left handed hitters and right handed hitters. That's how you see him." The competition for spots in the bullpen is tight, however. "I think all the guys in competition for bullpen jobs have pitched well, they've all done good for themselves. From that decision making perspective, it hasn't created any clarity," Counsell said. The 39-year-old Capuano last pitched for Milwaukee in 2010.
- Counsell spoke briefly about the controversy that has consumed the White Sox club house regarding Adam LaRoche and his son Drake before the game. "We don't have a policy," Counsell said. "We don't have a lot of children and if we had more kids we'd probably have to. Since I've been here, we've just used common sense. We try to respect each other." Ryan Braun's infant daughter, Celine, was in the clubhouse with him at the end of the game and while I didn't seek a comment from her, it didn't seem like she was too much of a distraction.