Anderson likely to take the ball Friday

Anderson likely to take the ball Friday

ARLINGTON -- Brett Anderson is tentatively slated to make his return to the mound on Friday in Chicago, but manager Bob Geren doesn't want to make anything official until the young A's lefty pitches one final bullpen session.

Anderson, though, is more than confident he'll be ready for the task.

"All signs are pointing forward," Anderson said before Tuesday's game against the Rangers. "It'll just be about getting over that initial hump and continuing on and staying healthy for the rest of the year."

The southpaw hasn't made a start for Oakland since June 3 due to elbow tendinitis, which also kept him out of the mix from April 25 to May 28. He tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday, giving up just four hits and striking out nine with 87 pitches.

Thus, he believes he's ready to go the distance Friday, saying he'll likely be eyeing the 100-pitch mark, "which is a pretty normal start, anyway."

In Anderson's first start coming off the disabled list in May, he held Detroit scoreless over 5 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits. But in his next start at Boston, he had to leave the game after two innings because of elbow pain. He gave up five hits and two runs and now thinks he may have rushed his return back then -- something he's tried to avoid this time around.

"I think the longer rehab strengthened my arm more this time," he said. "Going through it the first time, you never really know what to expect. But something like an elbow injury, you can't hurry up the process. I feel good about where I am right now, and I'm ready to help the team."

Anderson's return happens to cross paths with Ben Sheets' exit to the DL. The elder pitcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow on Saturday, and there is no timetable on his return until he visits with orthopedist and Rangers physician Keith Meister while in Texas this week.

"You never want to come back under those circumstances, with someone else on the DL," Anderson said. "It's unfortunate for Ben, but hopefully it's nothing too serious and we'll get him back soon, too."

Anderson's potential Friday start pushes Dallas Braden to Saturday, and Anderson will look to build on a season that -- before his injury -- saw him go 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in six starts.