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Anderson makes strong first impression

MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Nobody can say for sure what will happen between the Blue Jays and Brett Anderson in the weeks ahead, but Toronto manager John Gibbons certainly felt like the veteran lefty "opened some eyes" Tuesday night.

Anderson began what likely will turn into month-long audition with the Blue Jays by allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-0 loss to Boston. He worked quickly and efficiently against one of the American League's best teams, and along the way, he made a statement about being back where he belongs.

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TORONTO -- Nobody can say for sure what will happen between the Blue Jays and Brett Anderson in the weeks ahead, but Toronto manager John Gibbons certainly felt like the veteran lefty "opened some eyes" Tuesday night.

Anderson began what likely will turn into month-long audition with the Blue Jays by allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-0 loss to Boston. He worked quickly and efficiently against one of the American League's best teams, and along the way, he made a statement about being back where he belongs.

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The 29-year-old joined Toronto earlier this month on a Minor League contract. The partnership between these two sides may not extend beyond this season, but the Blue Jays need a couple of starters next year, and if this pairing works out, there is a chance it will extend beyond that. Time will tell, but in the meantime, Anderson isn't wasting any time gaining new fans.

"I thought he was tremendous," Gibbons said. "I really did. He works fast. Good stuff, his stuff is good. He gets a lot of ground balls. I've always known that. I thought it was a tremendous outing."

Video: BOS@TOR: Gibbons on Anderson's start in loss

Anderson had the unenviable task of being matched up against Boston's Chris Sale, but for a long time on Tuesday night, Anderson matched the AL Cy Young Award candidate pitch for pitch. Anderson escaped the first inning unscathed after a runner was thrown out at the plate, but after that, he faced the minimum from the second through the fifth innings.

In the sixth, Anderson allowed one run, but the box score only tells part of the story. The ninth-year veteran retired the first two batters he faced before Rajai Davis singled and stole second. Anderson then appeared to get out of the inning when Eduardo Nunez hit a flare to right field. The ball had a catch probability of 95 percent, but Jose Bautista could not come up with the sliding play and Davis came around to score. That was all Boston could muster against Anderson.

"I still think I'm a good pitcher when I'm healthy and able to go out there and do what I'm capable of," Anderson said. "Besides some fluky things in the sixth, I held down a pretty good offense. For my first outing, and everything considered, my new organization, I feel like I did my job. It's a building block and hopefully I'll take that to the next one."

Anderson's spot in the rotation appears secure as he joins a group that includes Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini. Aaron Sanchez, who is still out with blister issues on his right middle finger, is not expected to return as a starter this season and instead will be pitching out of the bullpen.

This is the chance that Anderson thought he was getting with the Cubs earlier this season until a back injury changed all of that. Health has always been the issue with the promising southpaw, but with a career ERA of 3.99, there will always be a team willing to give him another chance. That team right now is the Blue Jays.

"As far as my first start with a new team, back up in the big leagues, couldn't really ask for much more," Anderson said. "I was efficient, got early contact, got back to ground balls, what I'm normally accustomed to doing. Hopefully I can take this in stride and have some good outings going forward."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Brett Anderson