Missouri baseball's Anderson held out with elbow injury

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 8:46 p.m. CST
In this photo from 2013, Missouri pitcher Eric Anderson throws during warm-ups at the Devine Practice Facility. Later that day, Anderson pitched to live batters in batting practice for the first time since undergoing Tommy John (reconstructive elbow) surgery in May 2012.

COLUMBIA — Missouri pitcher Eric Anderson has a nerve injury in his right elbow and will be held out of the pitching rotation for the time being, Tigers head coach Tim Jamieson said Wednesday.

Jamieson said the senior, who was set to be one of Missouri's top starters this year, has a subluxed ulnar nerve, which he sustained "about a week ago." Jamieson also said Anderson went to see a doctor on Wednesday. 

The injury involves a nerve in the elbow, which has been shifting out of place and thereby causing Anderson pain. The prognosis with Anderson is currently unclear.  Jamieson said he hasn't had any experience dealing with players with the same problem. Surgery is one option with subluxation, but it would result in a more long-term absence. Anderson previously had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2012.

"The doctors have said 'You're not going to hurt yourself anymore, but it's just a matter of how you manage it,'" Jamieson said. "And it (the nerve) could go back in the groove. Or it might be inflamed, and it's been out the whole time since he's had (Tommy John) surgery, and now it's a little inflamed, but there's just no way of knowing for sure."

Jamieson described the pain of the injury as being like a bite when releasing the ball. He said the pain isn't "significant," but could have a detrimental effect on Anderson's mindset.

"It's more of a mental thing than a physical thing," Jamieson said later on. "It's both, really, but dealing with the physical part of it takes the mental adjustment that some guys will make, some guys won't. Eric's pretty tough, but still, it's tough to throw if you don't know what's going on in your arm."

The injury hasn't forced Anderson to completely cease baseball activity. He has practiced as a position player and can still swing a bat, though he won't be able to play first base with the injury. Jamieson said if Anderson were to get in the lineup, it would be as a designated hitter. 

Anderson has shown great promise in stretches during his career, but has been hampered extensively by injuries. He missed time during and after his freshman year in 2010 due to a shoulder injury. Anderson then excelled down the stretch as a sophomore and pitched for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and in the Cape Cod League the summer of 2011. 

He began 2012 in the team's rotation, but an injured throwing elbow cut that season short. Anderson returned at the beginning of 2013, and while he missed about six weeks due to further discomfort, he finished up with a strong seven-plus inning outing against Kentucky that helped Missouri clinch a spot in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Though winter weather in the southeastern U.S. has snarled the team's travel plans for opening weekend, those around the team expressed hope that Missouri would get some games in. Junior John Miles will likely get the start for the opener, which is currently scheduled for Friday against Richmond in Jacksonville, Fla.

Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.

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