First, there was the issue of readiness.
Then, the dilemma of a fractured starting rotation forced the hand of principal decision-makers within the Diamondbacks’ organization.
In the end, a combination of the above factors seem to force right-hander Chase Anderson into the major league spotlight. Both general manager Kevin Towers and field manager Kirk Gibson are not ones to rush a timetable nor push an unprepared player to the next level.
For Anderson, his jump from Triple AA-Mobile to the Diamondbacks was essential a quantum leap. Not that Anderson was not prepare to face the best baseball competition in the world but the desire of Arizona officials is to essentially nourish and not push talent to the major league level.
Still, the Diamondbacks remain cautious when it comes to Anderson and despite a solid season this far in Sedona Red, his innings and exposure are limited and guarded.
Several times this season, Gibson said the organization is carefully watching Anderson, who could be a fixture in the D-backs’ rotation for the foreseeable future.
Because Anderson appears to be on a leash, Gibson said there is no prescribed criteria for his progress, such as inning pitches, use of pitches and duration into games.
Before Wednesday’s afternoon game with the Tigers, someone asked Gibson if 160 to 170 innings was a realistic barometer for Anderson. Following his latest effort Tuesday night, Anderson has thrown 60.1 innings in his 11 starts for Arizona but has emerged with a creditable 6-4 record and 3.58 ERA.
Before his call-up in early May, Anderson appeared in six games for Mobile and was credited with 39 innings in those starts. The longest he went in any game was 7 1/3 innings (91 pitches) on his final start before elevation to the Diamondbacks.
“No, we’re not locked on a number of innings for him,” Gibson said. “We’ll continue to observe him and make decisions based on his work load.”
Despite eschewing numbers, Gibson said there is an essential goal for Anderson.
“We would like him to pitch deep in the season,” Gibson said. “His experience in the minors stopped around Labor Day. Now, it’s our hope he can go until the end of September and we’ll see where is he is at that point.”
For Anderson, the task ahead is simple and direct. While he understands how the Diamondbacks would like to preserve and conserve his production and energy level, the 26-year-old native of McKinney, Tex. says he’s focused.
“I just keep battling and my job is to stay in there and give our team a chance to win,” he said. “Just stayed focused and make my pitches.”
Going forward, durability could be an issue.
In his brief professional career, Anderson is not considered an “innings eater,” and already this season, the deepest he’s pitched into any game at the major league level was eight. That was a 12-6 win over San Diego on May 28. He has thrown over 100 pitches three times since recalled from the BayBears on May 11 and in his last outing, Tuesday night against the Tigers at home, Anderson was taken out after six innings, picked his first no-decision in 11 starts and threw 93 pitches.
“We felt he did his job,” Gibson said after the effort against Detroit. “We’re watching his innings and careful in what he does.”
Overall, Gibson indicated, the organization is pleased with Anderson.
“He’s a battler,” is the way Gibson described the 6-0, 170 pounder. “He is more efficient in getting guys out and continues to try. He’s done very, very well for us.”
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is the Diamondbacks’ 2014 Heart and Hustle Award winner.
The award is honors active players who demonstrate a passion for baseball and best embody the spirit, value and tradition of the game.
All 30 major league teams name their individual award winner and then an overall player is selected at an awards dinner this November 18 in New York City. The Heart and Hustle Award was first presented in 2005.
Last season’s overall winner was former Arizona State standout Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox.
Previous overall winners include David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011) and Mike Trout (2012).