Brett Anderson spent the A's spring camp last year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but this year, he came in fully healthy and ready to go after a successful return to action last August.
Then, on Sunday, in his third outing of the spring (including one that did not officially count against Italy), Anderson was covering third on an error by third baseman Josh Donaldson when Anderson had his neck jarred in a collision at the bag with the Diamondbacks' Adam Eaton.
The A's announced the injury as a strained right trapezius, and manager Bob Melvin said he is hopeful that Anderson will not miss his next spring start. Anderson is the A's Opening Day starter, and the longest tenured Oakland player in the rotation.
Last summer, after returning from surgery, Anderson went 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA. But he was injured in his final start of the regular season, straining an oblique muscle that caused him to miss the final two weeks of the season.
Considering his injury history - he hasn't made more than 19 starts in any of the past three seasons - the A's must have at least mild concern about Anderson incurring a muscle strain in his third spring appearance.
"It was just kind of a freak play," Anderson said. "I don't think it's anything major."
Meanwhile, A's closer Grant Balfour is moving closer to his first game action of the spring. Balfour, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 14 for a meniscus tear in his right knee, has thrown two bullpen sessions and is likely to throw to hitters next before getting into a game possibly toward the end of the week.