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Dodgers confident in Brett Anderson's health

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- New Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson pitched 43⅓ innings for the Rockies in 2014, which isn't all that different from the 44⅔ innings he pitched for the Athletics in 2013, or the 35 innings in Oakland in 2012, or the 83⅓ innings with the A's in 2011. But the Dodgers think he can pitch much more for them in 2015.

"He's a young guy. He was terrific when he pitched last year for Colorado. From a health standpoint, we feel very good about him being a regular guy from the start of the season on," Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said on a conference call on Wednesday. "We're certainly hoping he stays healthy and takes the ball every fifth day."

Anderson made 19 starts in the last three seasons (plus 11 relief appearances), and never more than 19 starts in any one season since 30 starts in his rookie year with Oakland in 2009. The Dodgers are hoping for more than 19 starts and 123 innings - his totals of the last three years - in 2015.

"If you just plug it into a projection model, it's just going to see those three years and spit out a pretty low number. Projection models are useful when you have no other information, but in this case we have a lot of information," Zaidi explained. "We have our medical review of him and knowing that he had no arm issues other than the Tommy John surgery he had [in 2011] and came out fine."

Anderson since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2012 hasn't had any arm or shoulder injuries. His disabled list stints in the last two seasons consist of a broken foot, getting hit by a pitch and breaking a finger while batting, and a back strain.

Zaidi said there were no issues with Anderson's physical exam, which was taken on Dec. 18 in Los Angeles. But the reason the deal took so long to finalize was because of logistics surrounding the holidays, with various people out of the office or unavailable at certain times in the last two weeks.

Zaidi, who was in the A's front office from the time Anderson was acquired from Arizona in 2007 through the left-hander's trade to Colorado before last season, downplayed those injuries from 2013-2014.

"As far durability goes, he hasn't been a consistent year-in, year-out 200-inning guy, obviously, so there is some risk," Zaidi acknowledged. "I do have a difference of opinion of lumping him in with guys who finished last year with arm issues. Brett had a freak thumb issue, and a very minor back issue that we feel won't be an issue going forward."

The Dodgers have guaranteed Anderson $10 million for his one-year deal, rounding out a starting staff that includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, the latter with an injury history of his own, but also a renewed plan of attack that worked for him in 2014.

Zaidi said the Dodgers made a concerted effort to add two quality starting pitchers this offseason rather than one big prize, like a Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields.

"I think there's a lot of value in having a guy who you feel gives you a good chance to win every day. A balanced rotation was something we put a lot of value on," Zaidi said. "I don't think our intention was ever to sign one guy then punt on the fifth spot in the rotation. We wanted to add two guys who we thought were above the bar of us feeling they gave us a chance of winning every time they took the ball."

With Scherzer and Shields still on the market, Zaidi said adding another free agent starter isn't in the team's plans, but if an opportunity for a depth move came up the Dodgers might be interested.

"We made a concerted effort to improve our starting pitching depth. It's important to have guys either in Triple-A or in the big league bullpen who we feel can swing into the rotation and keep us competitive. Adding guys like [Mike] Bolsinger and Joe Wieland addressed that," Zaidi said. "That's really our focus, depth options. Guys who can serve as the long man in the bullpen or who can start in Triple-A."