Cody Anderson was supposed to pitch for Single-A Lake County to start the week, but rather than a low-level rehab start, the Cleveland Indians rookie is jumping back to the majors to fill in for Carlos Carrasco.
Anderson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 8 with a left oblique strain, and his return will come at least a few days earlier than expected Wednesday night as the Indians host the Milwaukee Brewers in the conclusion of a two-game series.
Considering how his first four big league starts went and the shift that followed, a new beginning might be appealing for Anderson (2-3, 4.31 ERA). The right-hander was 2-1 with a 0.89 ERA in his first four starts. After the All-Star break, he was 0-2 with a 10.19 mark in his next four.
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With Carrasco landing on the DL with a sore shoulder, Anderson is hoping health will send him back toward more favorable numbers, though the depth of his rehab was a bullpen session Friday.
"I was trying to rear back and throw it even harder," Anderson told MLB's official website. "That's when I felt it and just kind of became ineffective after that.
"It's just really hard to pitch with that. It's kind of like the backbone of pitching, your side, driving to the plate. It just wouldn't allow me to get through the ball."
Anderson also needs some improvement at home. He's 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in four starts at Progressive Field compared to a 3.20 ERA in four on the road.
Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson is further along into discrediting his early season struggles. Nelson (10-9, 3.60) was 3-8 with a season-high 4.64 ERA through his first 14 starts. In 11 since, the right-hander has a 2.39 ERA.
He's been even better since the All-Star break, going 4-0 with a 2.15 mark in seven outings for easily the best stretch of his career.
Cleveland's Abraham Almonte is 2 for 2 with a home run against Nelson, and the center fielder's triple was just a small part of the offense in Tuesday's 11-6 win over Milwaukee.
Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley all went 3 for 4 with Brantley connecting on a pair of two-run homers. The left fielder is batting .385 with a 1.083 OPS in 33 games since the All-Star break, and Lindor is 10 for 16 with two homers and five RBIs in four games.
Kipnis is 12 for 17 in his last four games at Progressive to boost his MLB-leading home average to .383.
The Indians (59-66) weren't able to get on any kind of roll on their preceding 5-6 road trip, but they've won six of eight at home with 8.8 runs per game.
The Brewers (53-73) have lost three straight. Despite Nelson's success, the starting staff has a 9.51 ERA over a 2-5 span. Two errors didn't help Tuesday as Milwaukee's 92 for the season matched Pittsburgh's total for the most in the NL.
"We gave them some runs," manager Craig Counsell said. "We have to play a cleaner game. It's hard enough, but giving the other team runs makes it real hard."
Four home runs, two of which came from Jonathan Lucroy, weren't enough for Milwaukee to keep up with Cleveland. Lucroy has three homers in his last two games after totaling four in his first 81 contests of the season. The catcher is a career .322 hitter with a .908 OPS against AL teams.