SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Given a difficult injury history, one of Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson's biggest accomplishments in 2018 was his wire-to-wire availability.In 2016, a strained oblique sustained in Spring Training delayed his Major League debut and held him to 19 starts. His 2017 saw him out from late June to
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Given a difficult injury history, one of Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson's biggest accomplishments in 2018 was his wire-to-wire availability.
In 2016, a strained oblique sustained in Spring Training delayed his Major League debut and held him to 19 starts. His 2017 saw him out from late June to early September because of left knee surgery.
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But in 2018, Anderson made 32 regular-season starts (7-9, 4.55 ERA) while setting a new high for innings in his professional career (176) and pitching in a postseason race. Anderson also held the Brewers to one run over six innings in his first postseason start, a loss in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
Injuries have been an issue for Anderson, 29, since he was taken in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Oregon. He sustained an elbow injury while in Double-A late in 2014 that cost him all of '15. But it wasn't for a lack of trying that he missed that entire year. In fact, going too hard may have been the cause.
"As an athlete, your mentality is, when things get tough, you like to push through and push a little harder," Anderson said. "At times when I got pretty sore, I would just try to throw through it. If my legs were sore, I thought maybe I need to work a little longer in the weight room instead of just cutting back."
Last year, Anderson learned when to "really listen to my body," as well as trainers, strength and conditioning personnel and teammates. The result was 32 starts.
"Where he is now should be right in those years that he has experience, he's done it," manager Bud Black said. "It's just a matter of continuing to gain on that."
Anderson averaged 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings. His three walks per nine innings were elevated over 2.2 and 2.7 in his first two years, respectively. He also gave up an NL-leading 30 homers. The information gained from the homers helped set Anderson's priorities.
"If I consistently have control of my delivery and have good command, I can be OK," he said. "There were times last year I threw a lot of balls in the middle of the plate. I'm somebody that likes to compete in the strike zone. If I'm doing that, I want to keep in the strike zone in quality locations."
Dunn just getting started
Lefty reliever Mike Dunn, who underwent a cleanup procedure on his left shoulder last September, said he will be about two appearances behind other relievers but expects to be ready for Opening Day.
The strategy, Dunn said, was to make sure he didn't push himself too hard during Spring Training. He registered a 4.47 ERA over a team-leading 68 appearances in 2017, the first year of a three-year, $19 million contract. In '18, Dunn was limited to 25 games and a 9.00 ERA.
"Now that my shoulder is feeling really good, I can tell I've probably been fighting this for a couple years," said Dunn, who said doctors shaved off part of his collar bone to alleviate bone-on-bone friction. "'So it was a relief to get the shoulder fixed and get the AC joint, specifically, fixed. I'm looking forward to this year and getting back to my old self."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.