Brett Anderson goes on DL with back issue after getting hit hard

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Sunday, May 7, 2017

Chicago Cubs starter Brett Anderson was placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain on Sunday, one day after getting rocked by the New York Yankees.

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 the left-hander has 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 Saturday.

The Cubs called up reliever Justin Grimm and reserve infielder Tommy La Stella from Triple-A, while also optioning left-handed reliever Rob Zastryzny to Iowa. Zastryzny threw four innings and gave up three runs in relief of Anderson on Sunday. Grimm had been sent down a few days ago after struggling to start the season.

The Cubs' bullpen has been taxed by an ineffective starting staff this season. The Cubs have a first-inning ERA over 11.00. Things have gotten so bad that catcher Miguel Montero threw an inning of relief on Saturday.

The pitching staff's problems ultimately led to the Cubs designating reserve outfielder Matt Szczur for assignment so they could juggle hurlers up and down. La Stella gives the Cubs another bat off the bench.

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 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, with off days on Thursday and the following Monday. 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.