Tag:Tommy Hanson
Posted on: July 11, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:11 pm
 

Greedy Braves want Hanson here, too

PHOENIX -- While the Braves were thrilled to have reliever Craig Kimbrel added to the NL All-Star team late Sunday, joining bullpen mate Jonny Venters and starter Jair Jurrjens, they remain a greedy little team.

See, catcher Brian McCann, the MVP of last year's All-Star game, is bummed starter Tommy Hanson wasn't named, too.

A case can be made easily, too: Hanson steps into the break ranked third in the NL in ERA (2.44), first in opponents' batting average against (.190), eighth in strikeouts (109) and tied for third in wins (10).

"We've got to find a way to get them both here," McCann said Monday, speaking of Kimbrel and Hanson. "The fact that Tommy Hanson was not put in is kind of rough. He's [toward] the top of every pitching category.

"He deserves to be out here."

Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Can Braves' Hanson have winning season?

You watch Tommy Hanson -- big (6-6), strong (220 pounds), young (24) and full-bearded -- and you see him throwing four pitches for strikes and you wonder: How, before throwing seven shutout innings in San Diego on Wednesday, did he have a losing record?

"Was he 2-3?" Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez responded when I popped that question.

The manager reached for the trash can and retrieved a crumpled up piece of paper. He eyed the sheet of statistics. He sighed.

"I would have never guessed that," Gonzalez said. "That's how well he's pitched."

Maybe, now that Hanson is 3-3, the trend will change. Last season, as the Braves returned to the playoffs for the first time in six years, he led the staff in strikeouts and tied Tim Hudson for the staff lead with 34 starts -- but finished 10-11.

In fact, he became the only Braves pitcher since the club moved to Atlanta in 1966  to make at least 30 starts, compile an ERA of 3.50 or better ... and still have a losing record.

In limiting the Padres to four hits while striking out 10, Hanson used each one of his pitches to great effect: Fastball, slider, changeup and curve. The big difference this year, he hopes, is that he's even more confident in his curve, and he's refined his slider enough that he's got more confidence in that.

Plus, what he's really locked in on this year is throwing each pitch with conviction.

"Don't take any pitches off," Hanson says. "It sounds so easy, but it's hard. If I take one pitch at a time and execute that pitch at that moment, I'm going to have some success."

He'll also have some success if the Braves score for him: One big reason he went 10-11 last season was because the Braves average just 2.3 runs while he was in the game in 2010, and just 4.1 runs total during games in which he started.

That run support was the 13th-worst in the NL among ERA qualifiers.

Posted on: October 13, 2010 3:40 pm
 

Ready, Fredi? Braves make Gonzalez official

Fredi Gonzalez is smart, he's coached under Bobby Cox, the Braves love him (front office and players alike) and he's got a veteran manager's pedigree.

There's only one thing not working in his favor, and it will be no small obstacle for Gonzalez to overcome: That old maxim, you never want to be the man who follows The Man.

Following Cox in Atlanta? It will be like following John Wooden at UCLA (poor Gene Bartow), Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins (Jimmy Johnson couldn't replicate the success), Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers (hello Bill Russell, sacrificial lamb).

Not only did Cox guide the Braves to those 14 consecutive NL East titles (discounting the strike-shortened 1994 season) and the 1995 World Series title, but his greater legacy while moving to fourth on the all-time managerial wins list might be this: You never heard any player who passed through the Braves clubhouse over the years utter a negative word about Cox. None. Ever.

What a testament to Cox in the immediate aftermath of Game 4 of the NL Division Series: The Turner Field crowd giving him a prolonged standing ovation, and the San Francisco Giants hitting the "pause" button on their on-field celebration long enough to stop, face the Braves dugout and give Cox a standing ovation of their own. What a show of spontaneity and class.

Into this Grand Canyon-sized opening steps Gonzalez, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Marlins last summer when owner Jeffrey Loria's lust for Bobby Valentine apparently got the best of him.

Gonzalez was the Braves' third-base coach from 2003-2006 and, before that, in 2002, he managed their Triple-A Richmond club.

This is a man with intimate knowledge of the Braves' system -- the players, the way they do things, the culture. Even after leaving to manage the Marlins in 2007, Gonzalez lived in the Atlanta area in the winters and several times a week would meet Cox and other Braves coaches for breakfast.

So, the transition from Cox and Gonzalez should be seamless. Part of that will be because the Braves, as you would expect, handled the entire transition with class. From Cox's retirement to refusing to discuss Gonzalez until after one last, final Cox news conference on Wednesday, the Braves hit all the right notes.

Now, it's up to Gonzalez. We don't know whether Chipper Jones will make it back next year from his knee injury, but we do know the cupboard is fairly well stocked for the new manager, from pitchers Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe and Tommy Hanson to everyday players such as Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.

In Atlanta, the prima donnas are at a minimum. Presumably, Gonzalez will not have a petulant Hanley Ramirez problem on his hands. And if he does, we know how he'll respond: In one of his finest moments as Marlins manager, he benched Ramirez when the shortstop resorted to dogging it.

In two of Gonzalez's three full seasons in Florida -- 2008 and 2009 -- he got more out of the Marlins than they had a right to expect. He'll have more resources in Atlanta -- bigger payroll, more tradition and established veteran players.

Replacing Cox will be no easy task, but in so many ways, Gonzalez is inheriting an ideal situation. Let's see what the man can do.

Posted on: June 3, 2009 6:45 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2009 9:02 pm
 

Farewell to the classy Mr. Glavine

And so it ends not with a bang, but with a whimper for Atlanta icon Tom Glavine.

Six scoreless innings in a minor-league injury-rehabilitation start Tuesday night, his velocity back up into the low-to-mid-80s and, poof. Released.

John Smoltz and now Glavine in the same year.

Thanks for the memories, fellas.

Business is cold, and the game moves on, and that's life.  What rudely interrupted Glavine's homecoming in Atlanta is the fact the Braves' offense remains sluggish and the rotation has come together very well. Probably better than they hoped, given the progress of rookie Kris Medlen and given the fact that phenom Tommy Hanson is waiting in the wings.

The Braves' staff ERA of 4.08 ranks tied for fifth in the National League. Jair Jurrjens, having an All-Star season, currently ranks sixth in the NL with a 2.59 ERA. Javier Vazquez ranks third in the NL with 86 strikeouts. Derek Lowe has six wins. Kenshin Kawakami looks like he can help. Medlen held Arizona to one run over six innings in Atlanta's 9-3 win Sunday.

This isn't to say that Atlanta's pitching is flawless. But it's been pretty darned good. And when Hanson arrives, it'll be better.

There simply is no longer room in Atlanta for a 43-year-old, rehabbing lefty who, by his own admission, is well past his peak. Especially given what the Braves really need, and now we'll see whether Nate McLouth, the speedy outfielder acquired from Pittsburgh can give it to them.

Sad, given that there is nobody more classy than Glavine in the game. But true.

If he wants to hang around, there are plenty of clubs looking for pitching. Philadelphia, the New York Mets (look out for the cab rides, Tommy!), the Chicago White Sox. ...

And if he doesn't, well, think about this: Now he and Greg Maddux will be in the same Hall of Fame class, eligible for induction together.

That would be pretty cool.

 
 
 
 
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