NEW YORK -- As he settled into a big league rotation a couple weeks ago, Shaun Anderson ran through some of the former teammates and workout partners he might see over the course of the season. High on the list was Pete Alonso, a fellow Florida Gator, and now a budding superstar for the New York Mets.
"I kind of have a good game plan for him," Anderson said. "I can't tell anybody yet."
At the time, it seemed Anderson wouldn't get to face his friend. But the Giants altered their rotation after Drew Pomeranz struggled in Baltimore, bumping their rookie right-hander up one day. That means Anderson will face Alonso in Thursday's series finale.
"Oh, I've got a plan for Shaun," Alonso said. "I'm not going to tell you what it is."
We'll all see how the two rookies attack the matchup in the bottom of the first inning Thursday, but Anderson is pretty sure he knows what the first baseman's plan is. Alonso has 20 homers already.
"His plan is probably to go deep," Anderson said.
Alonso does have one homer off his friend. He hit a solo shot during one of his six Triple-A at-bats against Anderson last season. In all, Alonso picked up two hits and Anderson got one strikeout.
The two have been going back and forth for years, starting with a series of matchups during intrasquad games at Florida. They were part of a roster that was absolutely loaded, and Alonso was chosen in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft, one round ahead of Anderson. As he thought about the matchup, Alonso noted how cool it is that both have reached the big leagues so soon.
The Mets surprised some in the industry by avoiding service time concerns when they called up Alonso. Anderson made it up a couple months sooner than expected, too.
"It's awesome that me and him are here right now," he said. "It seems so far away, but three years ago really isn't that far. It seems like it was yesterday. It's crazy that me and him are here and playing against each other."
While Anderson was working his way up to the big leagues earlier this year, Alonso was kicking off what could be a Rookie of the Year campaign. He already is just six homers away from tying Darryl Strawberry's franchise record for a rookie, and he trails only Christian Yelich among big leaguers this season.
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Alonso plays about as far from Sacramento and San Francisco as you can get, but he followed Anderson's progress. He didn't seem at all surprised that Anderson made it up so early this season, saying he's one of the "hardest workers I know."
"He's one of those people that if he gets knocked down, he gets right back up and perseveres and figures out what he did wrong and immediately fixes it," Alonso said. "He's extremely resilient and mentally tough. He deserves everything he gets, so I'm happy for him."