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Through trying times, Anderson has dad's support

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Through trying times, Anderson has dad's support play video for Through trying times, Anderson has dad's support

Injuries have derailed left-hander Brett Anderson's first year in Colorado. But the circumstances of the latest -- a broken index finger on his throwing hand -- put him squarely in the category of a hard-luck player.

"I wouldn't say it's kind of normal at this point, but it is kind of normal because of the last handful of years," Anderson said. "But people who have been around the game, who probably have 100 years of experience -- trainers, coaches and stuff -- hadn't seen anything like my injury before, where a guy just hits one off the end of the bat -- most of the time, it stings right away and it goes away.

"Next thing you know, I have pins in my fingers."

It was a good time to call his father.

Anderson is the son of Frank Anderson, a longtime college pitching coach at the University of Houston. But Brett leans on his father for who he is, not what he does.

Dad was there for his son, who pitched for the Athletics from 2009-12, after Brett underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in '11, limiting him to 13 starts that year. In 2012, Anderson made only six starts late in the year before suffering a right oblique injury that ended his season on Sept. 19. Last year, Brett had his father around when foot and ankle injuries limited him to 16 appearances (five starts), forcing him into a relief role by season's end.

But as hard as the injury bug has bitten Brett, Frank has been there to help with perspective.

Frank said players deal with less anxiety directly related to the injury because of modern medicine. But they're still human. They still need their dads to remind them to approach the comeback the right way.

"There are very few career-ending things, and that's the only way to approach it," Frank said. "There's a lot of hard work to be done, whether it's Tommy John or a shoulder surgery or anything like the one he has. But I tell him, if you don't look back, if you take a positive approach, you've got a chance.

"You can't talk baseball 24/7, although a lot of times that's what it seems like we do. We talk about what else is going on in life, how you like your teammates, things like that. He really likes the guys, and he's found a friend going through some of the same things in Tyler Chatwood [a pitcher coming back from a right elbow strain]. I'm glad he has some support."

"He's been around the game long enough where he's dealt with people who have had injuries," Brett said. "It's never easy, but it's a little bit easier in the big leagues. If a guy gets injured or has an arm injury in college, it could be the end there. Him having experience and knowing people's personalities, trying to keep upbeat and keep positive. ... If I have a bad day or whatever, I can call him. He's my best friend, too.

"We can talk about anything, whether it be baseball or life or whatever. It's always good to have that fallback."

The two could talk baseball with the subject straying away from Brett's injuries.

"Here recently, it was their season," Brett said. "You come here, you focus on what goes on in here. But they were in the Super Regional. They beat LSU -- they had a couple exciting wins there and kind of ran out of steam against Texas. I was focused on them and their season.

"They finished in the top 10 in pitching. I give him a hard time about it, 'I don't know how you guys did it without a good pitching coach.' I kind of rib him a little bit. And we talk about what my sister is doing, finishing up her freshman year of high school. Just take your mind off. He's my best friend, so we talk about whatever is going on."

Rehab can be long and lonely, and Brett said his father helps him lighten up during the heavy moments.

"He said to stay positive, go out there and do rehab, do what you need to get yourself back as soon as possible, and don't get too down, because there are a lot worse things in the world," Brett said. "At the end of the day, it's not too bad. At the end of the day, a lot of people have it worse than me."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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