Matt Anderson signs with Phils

Updated: January 14, 2011, 8:45 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Right-handed pitcher Matt Anderson, the top overall pick in the 1997 first-year player draft, has signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and will try to make a comeback as a reliever in spring training.

Anderson, 34, was selected No. 1 overall by the Detroit Tigers out of Rice University 14 years ago. He attracted attention for routinely hitting 100 mph on the radar gun, and reportedly topped out at 103.

Anderson struck out 220 batters in 246 2/3 innings out of the Detroit bullpen between 1998 and 2003 -- recording 22 saves in 2001 -- before arm problems derailed his career. He last pitched in the major leagues while with the Colorado Rockies in 2005.

Anderson since has pitched in the minor leagues with San Francisco and the Chicago White Sox, and also logged a stint with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League. He hasn't pitched in affiliated ball since the White Sox released him in 2008.

Senior writer Jerry Crasnick covers Majors League Baseball for ESPN.com.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer