Anderson almost had SF's Cain pitching for him

Anderson almost had SF's Cain pitching for him

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rangers third-base coach Dave Anderson can't help but wonder what might've been.

Anderson was the head coach at the University of Memphis and landed his biggest recruit -- pitcher Matt Cain out of Houston High School in suburban Memphis. Of course, Cain never pitched for him. The Giants snatched him in the first round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

On Thursday, Anderson will watch from the other side as Cain starts for the Giants in Game 2 of the World Series.

"Hands down, he would've been my biggest recruit," said Anderson, who had a 104-116 record at Memphis, his alma mater, from 2001-04. "He went to the same high school that my daughter went to and my son went to, so I know him really well. I could throw a ball from my house to the school back when I lived there.

"We'd seen him the summer before his senior year and got on him pretty hard then, signed him before school ever started that year. Then in springtime, he goes out and throws the ball pretty good. Next time he throws, a few more scouts out there. Next time he throws, few more, and the next time he throws, the place is packed with scouts."

By then, all Anderson could do was wish Cain well.

"I talked to him and his family at the time and said, 'If you get drafted high, I'll hand you the pen. Go ahead and sign,'" Anderson said. "It was the right move for him. Obviously, he's turned into a really good professional baseball pitcher."

Anderson watched Cain's growth.

"I saw him in the Minor Leagues when I was roving for the Dodgers and I saw him in Triple-A one game where he got into trouble throwing strikes," Anderson said. "How was he going to fix it? He was going to throw harder. I talked to him after the game then and said, 'That's why you're here in Triple-A. Learn how to make those adjustments.'

"He competes really, really well, he's a good athlete. He can swing the bat a little bit. He's tough. We faced him last year here, and he beat us. We're going to have our hands full. He's done a good job. He's one of the big reasons why they're here."