As the reigning, defending, undisputed Cactus League champions get ready for their first spring game of the season, we now know who will be taking the ball first tomorrow afternoon.
Craig Counsell says it will be last season’s regular season Opening Day starter getting in the first pitches of the spring.
RHP Chase Andersom will be #Brewers initial out-getter in Cactus League opener Saturday vs. Cubs.— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 22, 2019
Anderson was also the one to throw the first live BP pitches of the spring the other day, which may have been a clue he was on track for the “start:”
I bring you the first live pitch of the Brewers’ 2019 season. Chase Anderson on the mound, Mike Moustakas in the box. This is Spring Training drama you can’t get anywhere else. pic.twitter.com/bFZHEXHcXC— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) February 20, 2019
It’s way too early to try to line up the rotation to see who’s on track to start the regular season opener (the safe bet would likely be Jhoulys Chacin, though), and Anderson is almost guaranteed to only throw one inning in his first appearance of the spring, but this could end up being an important spring for him as he tries to bounce back from a mildly disappointing 2018 season in which he never quite got going and saw him get pulled from the rotation before the end of the regular season (and left off the postseason roster altogether).
The Brewers aren’t the type of team to make major roster decisions based on spring performance, but looking at things like Anderson’s velocity and location toward the end of camp — both of which were off for almost the entirety of the 2018 season — could give us a better idea on which version of him we could expect.