Ian Anderson looks sharp in first game since Tommy John surgery

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The fifth starter in the Braves rotation has been a revolving door all season, but there are reasons for optimism. Most notably, Spencer Schwellenbach has been outstanding in his last two starts, including last night against the Tigers. But the Braves are also getting some reinforcements in the future. Bryce Elder has been lights out in Gwinnett and could be in Atlanta soon. AJ Smith-Shawver will be back later in the year from the IL, and Ian Anderson made his first start yesterday since undergoing Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2022.

The outing took place in the Florida Complex League, so it may have been unfair for the opponent, but Anderson’s performance should only excite Braves fans for what’s to come. He went two innings without allowing a baserunner, striking out four, and his fastball was sitting 92-95.

For a pitcher making his first start since Tommy John surgery, it’s fantastic to see Anderson’s arsenal looking almost exactly the same so soon, at least from a velocity perspective. For his career, he has averaged 94 MPH on his fastball and 88 MPH on his changeup, which are his primary offerings.

Whatever Ian Anderson gives the Braves this season should be viewed as a bonus. With Spencer Schwellenbach looking like he has lately and AJ Smith-Shawver expected to be back within the next couple of months, the Braves certainly don’t need him back in the rotation this year.

Despite that, this is still a 26-year-old pitcher who is a former #3 overall pick and has delivered in some of the biggest games in Braves postseason history. A fresh start could be exactly what is needed to get his career on track. At the very least, Ian Anderson could be an option for the Braves out of the bullpen later in the year.

Photo; David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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