GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cody Anderson could not stop smiling as he made his way down a hallway inside the Indians' complex on Saturday morning. The big right-hander was roughly an hour away from throwing off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cody Anderson could not stop smiling as he made his way down a hallway inside the Indians' complex on Saturday morning. The big right-hander was roughly an hour away from throwing off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow last spring.
"Biggest day of my life," Anderson beamed.
Before the morning's regular list of bullpen sessions, Anderson took his place on one of the practice mounds and worked through a series of 15 fastballs. It might not sound like much, but it was a major milestone for Anderson, who is on track to return to game action this summer.
Anderson was a standout rookie for the Indians in 2015, going 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 starts. He made the Opening Day rotation in '16, but he struggled to the tune of a 6.68 ERA in 19 appearances and began to experience right elbow trouble late that season. The discomfort flared in Spring Training last year, and Anderson underwent reconstructive surgery on March 27.
Saturday was no ordinary workout for the 27-year-old.
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"It's been a long time coming. I put a lot of work in," Anderson said. "It was really, really good. It's just the next step in the process. ... I showed up today and kind of felt like I was going to pitch in a game. I warmed up and after I threw the first pitch off the mound, it was right back to work. It was the same thing."
Mejia catching attention
There is a lot of hype this spring surrounding Francisco Mejia, who is the Indians' No. 1 prospect and top catching prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. At the moment, though, Cleveland has a pair of starting-caliber catchers in Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, who are both under contract for the next few seasons.
"He's proved a lot of things in the Minor Leagues and I know he did a tremendous job for us last year," Gomes said. "I know Cleveland's definitely got a lot to look forward to when he gets here, but right now it's still ours."
Indians general manager Mike Chernoff noted that Mejia, who tried his hand at third base during the Arizona Fall League, could see time at multiple positions this spring. Cleveland wants to explore its options with Mejia in an effort to potentially expedite his path to the big leagues.
"He's put himself on the map to be an option as a catcher for us," Chernoff said. "We have two really good starting catchers in Yan and Roberto. So, when you have a guy who has progressed so well through the Minor Leagues and has such a tremendous potential with his bat, you don't want to limit him.
"I think he's going to get the majority of his time at catcher, but he's open and we're open to trying him at other positions, which is why he played some third in the fall league. You may see him go out to some other spots. I think we just want to make sure we're not limiting him because of the guys that happen to be on our team right now."
• Chernoff noted on Saturday that baseball's slow offseason has created a unique situation over the past week. Said Chernoff: "I've been in the game for 15 years and have never been fielding this many calls with agents this time of year as I have this year. It's been a strange offseason, for sure. Just the pace of signings, the evidence shows it, that not as many guys have signed as in previous years. So, that means there's sort of been a flurry of activity that we don't usually have right before Spring Training starts."
• Slugger Edwin Encarnacion and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. arrived to Cleveland's camp on Saturday, meaning all of the team's players have reported. Position players are required to report on Sunday, when they will also undergo physicals. The club's first full-squad workout is slated for Monday.