Anderson, on the disabled list since May 9, pitched in two games during an injury rehabilitation assignment. In his second outing last Saturday night for Triple-A Omaha, Anderson's elbow problem returned with a vengeance.
"It was a little sore after I threw my first game, and it just never really recovered," Anderson said.
"I went out to warm up for the game at Omaha and did not feel very good, and after the second inning, I can remember sitting down next to Nate Field and saying, 'My season is over. There's no way. The pain is just too much.'"
Anderson began the season in Kansas City's rotation and made six starts, pitching to a 1-2 record and 6.75 ERA. In his last game, on May 8 at Baltimore, Anderson walked off the mound after two innings and was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.
"When I was hurt, even being away from the game, I still had that thought in my mind, 'Well, I'm coming back.' Even being out two months, I knew I was coming back, so there was something to look forward to," he said.
"Now that that hope is just taken away, it's absolutely crushing. There's a pretty low feeling around the Anderson household right now."
Anderson, 33, had been expected to rejoin the rotation shortly after the All-Star break. So, for that matter, was right-hander Denny Bautista.
But Bautista had a setback with his right shoulder injury and has been shut down, as well. Now, instead of having three pitchers returning from the disabled list to be starters, the Royals are down to one -- right-hander Kyle Snyder.
Just where Snyder will fit remains to be seen. The Royals have announced that the rotation for the first five games of the second half -- starting on Thursday night in Detroit -- will be Zack Greinke, D.J. Carrasco, Jose Lima, Runelvys Hernandez and J.P. Howell.
Anderson had been encouraged by recent bullpen sessions, but Royals general manager Allard Baird was guarded in his evaluation.
"I kept reminding everybody it was just a bullpen," Baird said. "Wait until he gets into a ballgame and he has to build up speed and the adrenaline kicks in."
Sure enough, Anderson seemed OK after his first start for Double-A Wichita, but hit a roadblock in the Omaha start. The pain was terrible.
"It was on every pitch, and it felt every bit as bad as it did in Baltimore. Maybe even a tad worse, but it had progressed all the way back to at least that point in just two games," Anderson said.
Yet, Anderson pitched 4 1/3 innings against Oklahoma and was knocked around.
"The reason I stayed in was [that] I instinctively knew this was it. This was going to be the last time that I pitched this year, so I wanted to finish and get to my pitch count," Anderson said.
"I never thought about coming out of the game, because I thought whether I come out or I don't, that this was it, and I wanted to keep pitching."
Anderson and Bautista are expected to see Los Angeles specialist Lewis Yocum for an evaluation of their ailments later this month.
If Anderson's season is over, so might be his career with the Royals. His contract expires this year.