KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brian Anderson was once a highly touted outfield prospect for the Chicago White Sox, who drafted him in the first round in 2003.
Now, he's trying to make it on the mound with Kansas City.
Anderson was an All-America outfielder in college at Arizona, where he also pitched a few innings. When he failed to make the Royals as a reserve outfielder in spring training this year, he approached the team about converting to a pitcher.
Anderson spent the first two months of the season in Surprise, Ariz., working on his delivery — and the early returns are very promising. The right-hander was promoted Thursday to Triple-A Omaha and threw two spotless innings against Fresno in his Pacific Coast League debut as a pitcher.
In three minor league stops this season, Anderson has allowed six hits and two earned runs in 12 1-3 innings while striking out 11 and walking four.
"He's definitely throwing major league stuff," Royals manager Ned Yost said Friday. "He's got his fastball up to 97 mph and his comfort zone is 95."
Yost also said Anderson has a big league-quality slider, but his command is slightly below average.
Anderson remains on the 40-man big league roster, so it would be easy to call him up in September when rosters can be expanded and see what he can do with major league hitters as a reliever.
"Somewhere down the road I imagine he'll get a look," Yost said. "I don't know if it'll be this September. It might be next spring, but he's done enough to warrant that."
Anderson batted .227 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs in 355 major league games with the White Sox and Boston Red Sox. He signed with Kansas City as a free agent in December and hit for the cycle in a spring training game, but was likely going back to the minors with Mitch Maier winning the spare outfield slot.
That's when Anderson talked to the Royals about moving to the mound.
"When he first did it, I wasn't sure it'd work out for him, but he's proven to me that it very well may," Yost said.
Kansas City's game against the White Sox was postponed by rain Friday night and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 7:10 p.m. EDT.
Philip Humber will make his first big league start of the season for the Royals in the opener against Chicago's Freddy Garcia. Bryan Bullington goes in the second game for Kansas City, while the White Sox are undecided.
The teams played for 9 minutes Friday night before heavy storms hit Kauffman Stadium. Sean O'Sullivan retired the White Sox in order in the first. After Gregor Blanco walked to lead off the bottom of the inning, the count was 1-1 with Jason Kendall at the plate when the tarp was placed on the field.
After waiting 91 minutes with no let up in the rain, umpire crew chief Joe West postponed the game.
Chicago trails first-place Minnesota by 4½ games in the AL Central and comes to Kansas City after losing two of three to the Twins.
"When you go there (Minnesota) and play the way we did and then you say, 'Wow, we're going to Kansas City,' it's the opposite," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "People thought we were going to kick Baltimore's butt. Very good surprise — we lost the series. We go to Detroit — we lost the series.
"We better bring our best game here, because it could be a very disappointing weekend. We'd better be prepared to fight. We better be prepared to win this weekend. It's not going to be easy."