Tough news for people who like good pitching: Oakland A’s nominal ace and exciting young left-handed starter Brett Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery early this morning in Florida. Anderson may not return until the start of the 2013 season.

Obviously this a huge-yet-hardly-expected blow to the A’s. Anderson spent time on the DL twice in 2010 with elbow soreness before going on the shelf (for good) early in June of this year.

As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues notes on twitter, starters like Anderson rely so heavily on their sliders (Anderson throws it more than 40% of the time) are bound to pay a price. To his credit, the barrage of sliders made Anderson into a strong starting pitcher.

Consistent FIP numbers in the mid-3s with above average groundball rates helped him earn more than 7 Wins above replacement in less than 400 big league innings. The A’s will certainly miss Anderson in their push to…ensure a good opening weekend haul for the Moneyball movie.

Again, a real shame for A’s fans and baseball fans in general. Oakland has a lot of credible arms in their rotation and Anderson gave them a chance to compete in the AL West. Luckily for Anderson, he sold off his arbitration when he signed a 4 year, $12 million deal early last season.

Here’s hoping the young lefty heals fully and quickly. Trevor Cahill can only walk between the raindrops for so long.