Tight Lower back
CHICAGO - Cubs starter Brett Anderson left Saturday's game against the New York Yankees in the first inning with lower back tightness and likely will be placed on the disabled list, manager Joe Maddon said after his team's 11-6 loss.
Anderson, 29, has a history of back problems and was able to get only one batter out while giving up five runs Saturday. Over his past two starts he's thrown a total of 1 2/3 innings while giving up 12 earned runs.
"It's two starts in a row, and he probably felt something in his back tonight, but we just can't continue on that path right now, " Maddon said.
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Anderson said he felt something in his back while fielding a bunt by Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks, then he threw awkwardly toward first base, bouncing the ball past Anthony Rizzo.
"Make kind of a weird play, then it stiffens up, and with my history of back problems and everything considered, I didn't want to make it worse on everybody, " Anderson said. "Felt it was time to get out of there. Couldn't make the pitches I needed to. The last two starts here at home have been embarrassing from my perspective."
Anderson's quick performance against the Phillies last Monday (1 1/3 innings) and then again on Saturday taxed the Cubs' bullpen. In anticipation of a short start the team called up reliever Rob Zastryzny on Saturday afternoon while designating popular outfielder Matt Szczur for assignment. The move meant the Cubs had nine relievers in the bullpen for the game, though Maddon said they'll rearrange some things before Sunday's contest against the Yankees, as Zastryzny threw 88 pitches in relief.
"Moving Szczur out of here because this might occur, that was the tough part of the day, " Maddon said. "That's the part that lingers with you."
Brett Anderson has a history of injuries, including two back surgeries. Jon Durr/Getty Images
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 have some time before they need to replace him in the rotation as they have off days on Thursday and the following Monday, so the need for a fifth starter could be pushed. Maddon mentioned two names as possible replacements.
"(Mike) Montgomery, and (Eddie) Butler down at Triple-A is throwing the ball really well, so we definitely have good options, " Maddon said.
Montgomery was discussed as a starter over the winter until the Cubs signed Anderson to a one-year.5 million deal. He's pitched out of the bullpen so far this season. Butler was acquired from the Rockies late in the winter and is off to a good start at Triple-A Iowa. He lowered his ERA to 1.17 after six shutout innings on Saturday against Memphis. The Cubs need all the help they can get in the rotation as they have a 11.40 first-inning ERA this season and overall are ranked 11th in the National League after leading from start to finish last season.
"I really anticipate good out of the other guys, " Maddon said. "Listen, we lost badly tonight. Last night we were ahead for eight innings. We just came off a three-game winning streak. The sky is not falling for me. We just had a bad night."
As for Anderson, it's unclear what his future is with the Cubs. He's hopeful his back injury is minor and he can get back to getting guys out. His ERA ballooned to 8.18 after Saturday's outing.
"When I'm healthy and everything is going right, I think I'm a good pitcher, " he said. "It's a combination of things. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong here lately, especially at home.