Brett Anderson to make 2016 debut Sunday

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Brett Anderson’s beard has gotten a lot longer since you last saw him in a big-league game. But his wait has gotten a lot shorter.

Two games from now, Anderson will make his first official start of 2016, taking the mound in the Dodgers’ series finale Sunday against the Pirates.

“I’m excited for Brett — it’s been a long road for him,” Dave Roberts said. “So to get him back, I think is obviously a good thing for us.

Sidelined by March back surgery, Anderson pitched a career-high 180 1/3 innings in 2015 with a 3.69 ERA. He made 18 quality starts last season and pitched at least five innings in 26 out of 31 games.

Anderson will follow Brandon McCarthy, who worked through some mechanical issues in two bullpen sessions this week and will make his scheduled start on Saturday.

“Just getting the natural feel back,” McCarthy said. “It felt very normal this week. … It wasn’t anything huge, but got to see what that leads to.

“A couple of things get off base and you feel screwy, and then it turns into you do’t believe you can execute something because your body’s not in position to allow you to execute it, so it just kinds of compounds upon itself. It feels like something’s been found now, so just making sure that’s it. It’s a very basic thing, but it’s something you can get away from quickly.”

Julio Urías, who was the backup plan for this weekend, will be available out of the bullpen in long relief if needed.

In his own bid to come back from back issues, Clayton Kershaw threw on flat ground today and is expected to throw again Saturday, according to Roberts.

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