Anderson in play
Ozzie Guillen gave Brian Anderson a strong vote of confidence on Tuesday afternoon, but also issued a challenge to the team’s best defensive outfielder. First, your basic roster assurance for Anderson.
“He’s my man. Yes. I hope he can be a starting center fielder,” Guillen said. “I don’t know how we’re going to do it, if it’s going to be a platoon situation. But I think Brian grew up a little bit as a man and as a baseball player, a lot better. And the job he did for us last year was outstanding. He took his role very well.”
Now, the challenge
“I wish Brian Anderson can come out and be the player people thought he could be,” Guillen said. “That would make it easy for me. Oh God, yes. Every time we make the decision to give Brian the job since he couldn’t do it, I got three Spring Trainings with a headache on who’s going to be my center fielder.
“If Brian Anderson was doing the job he’s supposed to do, I wouldn’t be sitting here, looking for the guy who’s supposed to play center field. He’s going to make it easier for everyone. But this kid, he doesn’t have to be on this club but he should. He’s good enough to do that.”
Anderson has developed and matured with each Spring Training, and the late-inning, part-time role he played last year was undervalued. But in talking with him, as recently as this afternoon, he seems as focused as he’s ever been for the start of a season.
I’ve said this since 2007, and this is not meant as any sort of shot at Jerry Owens or DeWayne Wise, but I believe Anderson can hit .250 or .260 with 20 to 25 home runs if given a regular to semi-regular chance to play again. This 2009 season could be that chance.