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Pirates Anderson leaves Pirates' rotation

Friday, August 16, 2002

By Paul Meyer, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Left-hander Jimmy Anderson has been removed from the Pirates' starting rotation and will be in the bullpen "indefinitely," Manager Lloyd McClendon said yesterday.

He said the decision to take Anderson out of the rotation was based on his performance. "He doesn't give us the best option to win a baseball game right now," McClendon said.

Anderson, who was told yesterday of the decision, was upset and confused about his new situation. "I'm not too happy about it," he said. "Earlier in the year I struggled a little bit, but before [Tuesday] night I'd given them six and seven innings a start."

Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Anderson lasted only three innings while giving up eight hits and five runs. In his final five starts, Anderson allowed 45 hits and 16 earned runs in 27 innings.

This is not the first time McClendon considered taking Anderson out of the rotation. After a July 12 start in Milwaukee, in which he lasted only 2 2/3 innings, McClendon wanted to make the move, but the Pirates had Anderson on the trading block and thought he would be more attractive to other teams as a starter.

Since then, Anderson has made six starts and pitched at least six innings four times, five innings once and three innings once. "I thought I was throwing the ball well," he said. "They didn't. I don't make the decisions. I've got to live with it and make the best of it.

"If they don't want to pay me, I'll find someone else who will. But the blame goes on me mostly. I wasn't getting any wins."

Anderson was expected to start Sunday against the Brewers. Although McClendon hasn't decided on a starter, one possibility is Sean Lowe, who was sent to Class AAA Nashville a week ago so he could sharpen his control. Lowe started for the Sounds Tuesday night and pitched five innings, allowing two hits, no walks and no runs and striking out five.

"The reports were that he threw well," McClendon said. "We're just trying to get him sharp so he can be productive up here. [Before Lowe went to Nashville], his walks were way up. And he threw a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate and got hurt a lot."

The Pirates would have to make a roster move to bring Lowe back. Releasing veteran Ron Villone, one of four left-handers in the bullpen, would be one possibility.

Was there any thought given to demoting Anderson to Nashville? "As far as I'm concerned, this is a demotion," McClendon said.

Anderson, 8-13 with a 5.07 ERA this season, made one relief appearance in 2000 and nine in 1999.

"It will probably take a couple days to get used to this," he said. "I'm not used to the bullpen. It's just not my style of pitching. I'm the fourth lefty in the bullpen now. It will be hard to get a lot of work."

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