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Anderson named AFL Pitcher of the Week

PHOENIX -- The chase to the Major Leagues continues for Chase Anderson. Day by day, step by step, he continues to get closer.

The right-hander has taken another big step with his selection as the Arizona Fall League's Pitcher of the Week for Week 3.

Also honored, as Player of the Week, was Anderson's Salt River Rafters teammate, outfielder Brian Goodwin of the Nationals.

In two starts last week, the 24-year-old Anderson went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He led the league in strikeouts, with eight, and tied for the league lead in innings pitched, with eight. Opposing hitters only managed to hit .167 against him, and he had a 0.75 WHIP for the week.

For the season, Anderson is 2-0 with a 3.29 ERA, and he is tied for the league lead in strikeouts, with 19. He also ranks third in innings pitched and is tied for third in wins.

"I'm happy to be given this opportunity to pitch against some of the best young players coming up," Anderson said on Monday.

Command of the fastball is the foundation for what Anderson does on the mound. He mixes the fastball with the curveball and changeup.

"I learned to throw [a changeup] at a young age," he said. "I kept working on it, and now I have the confidence to throw it at any time in the count.

"I think I am becoming more consistent with my curveball and my cutter."

He is also learning to make better adjustments with his pitches.

"One pitch might not work one inning, and the next inning, it does. It's hard to describe the feeling. You just have to work toward being as consistent as you can," he said.

Rafters manager Matt Williams, who is also the D-backs' third-base coach, has been impressed by the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Anderson thus far.

"He's got four solid pitches he can throw for strikes," Williams said. "The radar gun doesn't necessarily light up, but you don't have to throw 95 [mph] to be effective.

"Pitching in this league isn't easy. These guys can hit."

Anderson, a native of Wichita Falls, Texas, was chosen by Arizona in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft after pitching at Oklahoma. He pitched well in 2009 and 2010 but was sidetracked for most of 2011 with a strained flexor tendon in his throwing elbow, although the injury did not require surgery.

Anderson battled back for a solid 2012 season with Double-A Mobile, posting a 5-4 record and 2.86 ERA in 21 starts, walking 25 and striking out 97 in 104 innings. He took a bit of time off after wrapping up his Double-A season, but at the same time, wanted to stay sharp for the AFL campaign.

Pitching for the Rafters has been a mix of going against some of the players he did during the regular season, and against the rest, "pitching to my strengths," he said.

"And you don't go out every fifth day or so and just pitch. Being successful also is about being prepared -- at least it has been for me. You have to do your workouts, side sessions and running. I want to be able to do whatever it takes to get to the big leagues."

Don Ketchum is a contributor to
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