Ian Anderson takes massive step in recovery from Tommy John surgery

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For as long as I can remember, the Braves have been searching for answers at the back of their rotation. This year is better than most, as four pitchers have really established themselves as reliable starters in Max Fried, Chris Sale, Charlie Morton, and Reynaldo Lopez. But like a lot of teams around Major League Baseball, they are still looking for someone to take a stranglehold of the fifth and final spot.

It wouldn’t be an issue if Spencer Strider didn’t go down for the season with a torn UCL, but since then, the Braves have given a plethora of young arms opportunities such as Bryce Elder, Darius Vines, Allan Winans, Spencer Schwellenbach, and Hurston Waldrep. All of them have struggled mightily, but perhaps the answer is a Braves postseason legend.

Despite being only 26 years old, Ian Anderson has delivered some of the best starts in Braves playoff history. He boasts a 1.26 ERA over eight starts in October, but injuries began to take their toll a couple of years ago, and eventually, he went under the knife due to a torn UCL.

It was a blow to the Braves pitching staff, but Tommy John surgery can sometimes be a saving grace for young arms dealing with a multitude of problems. At least, that’s what the Braves are hoping for, and we may not have to wait much longer to find out.

According to Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ian Anderson threw a live batting practice on Monday.

As Toscano notes, there is no timetable yet for Ian Anderson to return to the mound in live action. But providing there are no setbacks, it’s reasonable to expect him to begin a rehab assignment before the All-Star break. If everything goes well from there, it’s possible he’s back in Atlanta for the final months of the season

Of course, the Braves aren’t planning on Ian Anderson being a critical piece down the stretch run. Whatever he can provide should be viewed as icing on the cake. However, this is a young man who has proven to be a weapon in the postseason. If he can somehow work his way back from this, he may surprise some people come October.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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