Sophomore splitting time between roles for MU baseball team

Saturday, March 19, 2011 | 7:33 p.m. CDT; updated 8:17 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 7, 2011
MU outfielder Ryan Gebhart scrambles back to first base while MU infielder Jesse Santo makes it back to second after an out. MU played Central Michigan on Saturday at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers won 14-7.

COLUMBIA — In the top of the eighth inning of Missouri's game against Central Michigan on Saturday, sophomore Eric Anderson entered the game to replace Scott Sommerfeld at first base.

But on the Missouri baseball team's roster, Anderson is listed as a pitcher. Last season, Anderson, a highly touted recruit, was the Tigers' No. 2 starter before being sidelined with a shoulder injury.


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This season, Anderson has appeared in seven games, pitching in just one. After an RBI single in the eighth inning of Saturday's 14-7 win , Anderson is 2-for-9 at the plate with three RBIs this season.

"He's played some first base because we weren't sure how his arm was going to be this year," coach Tim Jamieson said. "He was a pretty good positional player in high school, so we thought we'd try to develop that side of it too."

Anderson played shortstop in high school when he wasn't pitching.

Jamieson chose to let Anderson play some first base this fall so that he wouldn't have to throw very much while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Anderson underwent surgery for a torn right labrum last April, prematurely ending a disappointing season. Anderson went just 1-4 with a 5.74 ERA in 10 appearances before getting an MRI done to discover the injury.

"We think that it happened either the summer after my senior year or some time in the fall," Anderson said. "The coaches and I thought I was just fatigued because I had never thrown year-round in high school. I didn't have the velocity that I had in high school, but I didn't feel like I was hurt, it just felt like I was tired."

Anderson's velocity was typically between 90 and 92 mph in high school. When the Tigers played at Oklahoma last season, coaches saw his velocity hovering between 79 and 82 mph.

But Anderson will get his shot at redemption Tuesday when he gets his first start pitching against Central Arkansas.

"This is the most excited I've ever been for a start," Anderson said. "All the hard work that's been done up to this point, I finally get to let loose and get after it a little bit."

But Anderson still expects to be used at first base this season.

"It was tough last year to just pitch," Anderson said. "I'm just not used to that. It feels like there's almost too much time on your hands."

This year, Anderson gets to practice with the hitters much more than he did last season.

"Any time I can be out on the field I love it," he said.

Missouri will play a doubleheader against Central Michigan on Sunday at Taylor Stadium. The first game of Sunday's doubleheader is a makeup game for what was supposed to be the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, which was postponed because of rain.

The Tigers are riding a five-game winning streak into Sunday's doubleheader.

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