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Brett Anderson efficient in final extended spring start

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson was at peak efficiency on Monday in his final extended spring training start, with six scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

Anderson faced 20 hitters on Monday, and allowed 15 ground balls. He scattered four hits, a walk, and even hit a batter, but three of those were erased on routine double plays, one each to second base, shortstop and third base. He struck out two batters.

"As a pitcher, you're selfish and ego gets involved so you want to strike people out," Anderson said. "I don't know if you want to draw up giving up a leadoff guy, then getting a double play, but I'll take it."

So far the revamped Dodgers infield, with newcomers Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick up the middle, has proved a perfect match for Anderson, who keeps them quite busy.

"For what little I've been out there so far [the defense has] been tremendous," Anderson said. "It's kind of what I pride myself on, at least these days. Working fast and getting ground balls, and getting our offense back in the box."

In fact, Anderson was so efficient on Monday he might have been too quick for his infielders.

"Juan Uribe looked at me a couple times kind of like, 'You are ready already?'" Anderson joked. "The pace of play rules, they weren't made for me."

One of Anderson's five starts was on the minor league side, last Tuesday, during which Anderson allowed two fly ball outs. But in his four Cactus League outings, Anderson is up to a whopping 26 ground ball outs and zero fly outs, though Albert Pujols did tag him for a home run on March 19.

The quick outs on Monday allowed the southpaw to finish six innings with just 74 pitches, so he threw another simulated inning in the bullpen to get to 90 pitches. Anderson's next start will be Saturday against the Angels in the final game of the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium, a shortened tune up outing for Anderson likely around three innings or 40-45 pitches.

"When I was younger I was throwing harder and striking people out. Obviously you have to evolve. With some of the injuries I don't throw quite as hard. That's part of pitching and being in the big leagues for a little while," Anderson said. "If I can keep the pace good and be efficient, the innings are going to rack up quickly."

The innings have racked up quickly for Anderson in a rather uneventful spring, his healthiest in some time. After averaging just 52 innings per season from 2011-2014, Anderson is fully healthy heading into the regular season.

"His stuff is really, really good. He gets a lot of ground balls, he works quick," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's been pretty much on schedule, he hasn't missed any turns. He's been pretty much the picture of health for us this spring."

Anderson also has a sense of humor, commenting on his covering first base on a ground out in the first inning.

"Not to toot my own horn, but I think that was my fifth putout to first," Anderson said, which led to this fun Twitter exchange.

Up next

The Dodgers play their final spring home game at Camelback Ranch this season on Tuesday afternoon, hosting the co-tenant White Sox. a Joe Wieland gets the start for the Dodgers up from the minor league side, while top Sox prospect Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, gets the start for Chicago.