Anderson goes under the knife

Anderson goes under the knife

KANSAS CITY -- Brian Anderson didn't know what to expect when he underwent exploratory surgery Thursday. But when he woke up, he had a new elbow.

The left-hander had reconstructive Tommy John surgery performed on his pitching elbow by Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati.

"I've got a new elbow and I've got some good years ahead of me," Anderson said by phone Friday.

He plans to resume his career next season.

"Without a question. No doubt," he said.

Whether or not it will be with the Royals remains to be seen. His contract expires at the end of this season.

Anderson said that Kremchek said he could be competitive in the Major Leagues by next April or May. He expects to be throwing off a mound by January.

"Dr. Kremchek told me, 'There's no reason you can't pitch for a long, long time.' He was pretty optimistic about it," Anderson said.

"I'm 33 on the calendar but I feel I can keep up with these younger guys. And I've got an elbow to match them now."

Anderson had a torn ulnar collateral ligament, a torn flexor tendon and two bone chips.

"I thought I had one of the three, but not all three," he said.

The bone chips?

"They're huge," he said. "The doctor said he'd never seen any so big. I'm going to bring them in a cup so you guys can see them."

Anderson was obtained from the Cleveland Indians in a trade on Aug. 25, 2003, and was 5-1 for the Royals. Last season, he had a 6-12 record and this season posted a 1-2 mark in six starts before elbow pain intervened.

"The doctor told me, 'I have absolutely no idea how you were out there pitching the last year and a half. ... I can't see how you could finish any pitches and get any life or velocity on them.'"

Anderson's wife, Anna, and his parents witnessed the surgery, which involved transferring a wrist tendon to his elbow.

"My dad told them to give it an extra twist and tighten it and maybe it'd give me an extra three or four mph," Anderson joked.

He's confident about pitching in the Majors again, but at this point, he has no idea what teams might be interested.

The Royals?

"It's not out of the realm of possibililty," he said. "I'd be very excited to come back. I was excited when they [hired] Buddy [Bell] and I know he'll do things the right way. I'd be excited to be part of it."

Anderson began rehabilitation exercises Friday morning and wants to be pitching within nine months.

"With his athleticism and motivation, Brian has everything on his side," Royals athletic trainer Nick Swartz said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.