With Justin Duchscherer on the disabled list, the Oakland Athletics begin the season with a starting rotation that features five players 26 years old or younger, the first team to do so since the 1976 Milwaukee Brewers. One of the A's young hurlers, 21-year-old lefty Brett Anderson, will make his Major League debut on Thursday, and just days away from that first big league game, the 6-foot-4 Texan answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com.
04/08/2009 4:07 PM ET
Q&A with Oakland's Brett Anderson
Lefty sinkerballer to make Major League debut Thursday
By Jeff Moeller / MLBPLAYERS.com
MLBPLAYERS.com: What type of emotions are you feeling right now?
Anderson: Right now, I'm pretty loose. I'm taking this all in. It's great to see all the sights and sounds. As things are getting closer to my start, I'll get more locked in and focused on the task at hand. Right now, I'm pretty much enjoying everything.
MLBPLAYERS.com: The staff as a whole is very young. Does that work in your favor?
Anderson: We can talk a lot, and we have a lot of things in common. Most of these guys are either going through what I'm going through or have done so in the last year or two. That helps me prepare. I can see and hear what they go through and what they've gone through.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Your teammate, Trevor Cahill, is in the same spot as you. He made this staff out of Spring Training without the benefit of any big league experience. How closely will you watch his debut?
Anderson: I'll talk to him a lot after his start. I want to know how he reacted to things. I'll also watch Dana Eveland a lot. His style is very similar to mine. He is a fastball/slider guy. I will watch how the batters are reacting to his pitches. I'll talk to Eveland about the pitching aspect and Trevor about the emotions. Both will be beneficial to me.
Note: Cahill pitched five innings, allowing three runs -- two earned -- in a no-decision on Tuesday night. The A's defeated the Angels, 6-4.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Will you have anybody special in attendance?
Anderson: I have some friends coming in before the game along with my mom, dad and sister. They're all flying in. I'm excited and happy that they will be here to watch my debut.
MLBPLAYERS.com: For those who haven't seen you pitch, how do you describe your style?
Anderson: I think I'm a little bit of everything. I'm not overpowering, but I have good command. I throw strikes and get groundballs. I have my four pitches -- fastball, slider, curveball and change-up -- and I like to pitch inside a lot. I usually try and start with a fastball and then look to finish them off with a curve or slider.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Before the season started, you pitched an exhibition game against the Giants at The Coliseum in Oakland. What was it like pitching in a big league park for the first time compared to Spring Training or a Minor League venue?
Anderson: I actually had pitched at Yankee Stadium in the Futures Game and in the Olympics, so it wasn't that big of a difference, really. Oakland has a lot of foul territory, so that was good to pitch in. Obviously I was a little more fired up going against big league players in front of big league fans. But it wasn't a real culture shock.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What did you expect going into spring in what was your first big league camp?
Anderson: I wasn't expecting too much. I wanted to showcase my stuff and throw strikes. I wanted to show the brass and the coaches what I could do. As things progressed, opportunities opened up, and I was fortunate enough to take advantage of those opportunities.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Was there a guy you faced who really impressed you?
Anderson: Manny Ramirez. That was huge. He's one of the top right-handed hitters of all time. He got a hit off my first pitch. In his second at-bat, he took a pitch that most guys in the Minors would swing at. Over three at-bats with him, you can't make too many mistakes.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you get any down time in Arizona?
Anderson: I went to a Suns game, which was fun, but the focus at hand was on baseball and pitching. I was [there] to win a job.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.