Tag:Tommy Hanson
Posted on: February 25, 2012 12:55 pm

Hanson expects to be ready

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tommy Hanson understands now that concussions are serious, but he's feeling fortunate that his wssn't worse.

The Braves pitcher said Saturday that he believs he is now "back to normal," five days after he suffered a mild concussion in an automobile accident. Hanson won't throw again until Monday or Tuesday, buthesaid he doesn't expect any problem being ready for opening day.

"It'll only be a week off," Hanson said. "And I was throwing 50-pitch bullpens before I came down here."

Hanson was hurt in a one-car accident when he blew a tire on the way to the Braves' first official workout of the spring. He said that when doctors gave him tests, they found his reaction time had slowed, showing that he had suffered a conussion.

At that point, Hanson said he beganto understand how concussions have become a significant issue in sports.

"I didn't realize concussions are as serious as they are until I got one," he said.

Now he seems to be recovering well.

"I'm not worried about it," he said. "I feel like I'm back to normal."           
Category: MLB
Posted on: September 5, 2011 7:23 pm

Braves still hope for Hanson, Jurrjens return

PHILADELPHIA -- Tommy Hanson said Monday that he hopes to return to the Braves rotation in time to make one or two starts before the regular season ends. Jair Jurrjens said the same thing.

They'd better, if they hope to pitch in October.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said Hanson and Jurrjens will only be considered for the playoff rotation if they first show they're ready by making a regular-season start.

"If they don't pitch in the regular season, they can't pitch in the playoffs, at least not in the first round," Wren said, before the Braves' game against the Phillies.

Hanson and Jurrjens combined for 22 wins in the first half, but have just one win each since the All-Star break. Hanson hasn't pitched since Aug. 6 because of a sore right shoulder, while Jurrjens has a bone bruise on his right knee and has been out since Aug. 30.

Jurrjens visited a knee specialist over the weekend, and was told not to throw off a mound for the next two weeks. The Braves continue to say that Jurrjens has only a knee problem, even as scouts following the team see his diminished velocity (only 86 mph in a recent start) and suspect shoulder trouble.

Hanson threw from 90 feet on Monday, and said afterwards that he considered it significant progress.

"I think I have more peace of mind now," Hanson said.

The Braves seem more hopeful about Hanson than about Jurrjens, but they really can't be sure about either one.

Rookies Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor have pitched well enough that the Braves wouldn't necessarily be devastated if Hanson and Jurrjens don’t return to a playoff rotation that will be headed by Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe. But obviously, a healthy Hanson or a healthy Jurrjens -- or having both healthy -- would make the Braves a more formidable playoff team.

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 26, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 6:57 pm

Braves' Hanson has tear in shoulder, could return

NEW YORK -- Braves starter Tommy Hanson, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 6, has a small tear in his rotator cuff but doesn't need surgery and could return before the end of the season, the team announced Friday.

The Braves said that the tear, on the undersurface of the rotator cuff, is commonly found in pitchers. They said that Hanson will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

"We remain hopeful that Tommy can return in the next few weeks," general manager Frank Wren said in a statement.

Hanson is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in  22 starts, but the Braves are deep in starting pitching and have been able to get by without him. In the 18 games since he last pitched, Braves starters are 10-3 with a 2.92 ERA. Rookie Mike Minor has basically filled in for Hanson, and the Braves have won each of his last four starts.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: July 9, 2011 12:15 pm

3 to Watch: The Trout (and Jeter) edition

The day the Yankees first brought Derek Jeter to the big leagues, the New York Times handled the news with three lines attached to the bottom of the game story.

"It is Derek Jeter to the rescue, or so the Yankees hope," Tom Friend wrote that day. "With nearly the entire infield in the infirmary, the Yankees need someone with energetic legs, and their best candidate was Jeter, who was batting .354 at Class AAA Columbus."

Jeter was 20 years old. Baseball America ranked him as the fourth best prospect in baseball (behind Alex Rodriguez, Ruben Rivera and Chipper Jones), but there were no daily internet chats about what day the Yankees would call him up.

There were no daily internet chats about anything in May 1995. But there were no daily water cooler debates about top prospects back then, either.

The world has changed in the course of Jeter's 19-year career, to the point where on the same day that Jeter will be going for 3,000 hits, a significant portion of the baseball world will still be buzzing about the Angels' decision to call up 19-year-old Mike Trout.

Like Jeter, Trout will make his big-league debut against the Mariners, tonight in Anaheim. Like Jeter, whose arrival was speeded by injuries to Tony Fernandez, Dave Silvestri and Pat Kelly, Trout is coming to the big leagues now because someone got hurt (in this case, Peter Bourjos).

Who knows if this is the start of another 3,000-hit career?

What we do know is that Trout was the second biggest name in the minor leagues (there's some debate over whether he or Washington's Bryce Harper is the best prospect, but Harper is definitely better known). And we know that if you want to get 3,000 hits, it helps to get the first one when you're young.

Jeter was 20, as was George Brett. Pete Rose and Paul Molitor were 21. Tony Gwynn and Craig Biggio were 22.

Now Trout arrives at 19, as the youngest player in the major leagues. He was one year old when Jeter signed with the Yankees. He was three when Jeter debuted in the big leagues, and now he's given Jeter a 2,998-hit head start.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Jeter batted ninth in his debut at the Kingdome, going 0-for-5 against Mariner pitchers Rafael Carmona, Jeff Nelson and Bobby Ayala, in a game Rich Amaral won for the M's with a 12th-inning walkoff home run off Scott Bankhead. Trout will debut in Mariners at Angels, Friday night (10:05 ET) and Angel Stadium, with 22-year-old Blake Beavan starting for Seattle. Beavan is just up from the minor leagues himself; he allowed just three hits in seven innings to beat the Padres last Sunday in his debut.

2. It's hard to know exactly how big this weekend's "National League East showdown" in Philadelphia really is. Yes, the Phillies' NL East lead over the second-place Braves is down to just 2 1/2 games, heading into the weekend. But with the Braves holding a five-game lead in the wild-card race, the Phils are actually up a comfortable 7 1/2 games on a playoff spot. It could be that the Phils and Braves this September will be like the Yankees and Rays last September, where they'll only be playing for playoff seeding. What we do know is that there's a great pitching matchup, in Braves at Phillies, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Citizens Bank Park. Tommy Hanson, who many feel should be on the All-Star team, faces Cliff Lee, who is on the All-Star team.

3. Jeter enters the weekend needing just two hits for 3,000, so the first game to watch is probably Yankees-Rays on Friday night. And if he doesn't get two hits Friday, the second game to watch is Yankees-Rays on Saturday. But let's say he just gets one hit in those two games combined, so that we can focus on Rays at Yankees, Sunday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. And even if the Jeter celebration comes Friday or Saturday, Sunday's game is worth watching, with All-Star James Shields facing could-have-been All-Star CC Sabathia.

Posted on: September 30, 2010 10:27 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2010 10:44 pm

3 to watch: The Hoping for 163 edition

The best game of the postseason last year wasn't officially a postseason game.

It was Game 163, Tigers at Twins, and by baseball rules it was a regular-season game.

But it sure did have a playoff feel, and it was great.

In an October/November where none of the seven official postseason series went to a final, winner-take-all final game, Game 163 was as good as it got. And it was plenty good, a 6-5, 12-inning Twins win that even the Tigers acknowledged as maybe the best game they'd ever played in.

We've had a Game 163 each of the last three years, and they've all been great ones. It was Matt Holliday scoring in the 13th inning for the Rockies against the Padres in 2007 (was he really safe?). It was Jim Thome homering off Nick Blackburn for a 1-0 White Sox win over the Twins in 2008.

And it was an Alexei Casilla single off Fernando Rodney (pitching his fourth inning), after home-plate umpire Randy Marsh missed Brandon Inge getting hit by a pitch in the top of the 12th.

So what are the chances we get a Game 163 this year?

Not too good, from the looks of things going into the final weekend. The Giants lead the Padres by three games in the National League West, which means the Padres would need to sweep this weekend's series at AT&T Park to force Game 163.

The Braves lead the Padres by two games in the NL wild-card race, which means the only chance of Game 163 in Atlanta would be if the Padres win two of three and the Braves lose two of three.

Or, if the Braves lose two of three and the Padres sweep, you'd have a three-way tie for the wild card/NL West and a pair of one-game play-in games.

Unlikely possibilities, all of them, and disappointing for neutrals, especially since as recently as Sunday night, the Giants, Braves and Padres were separated by just one game.

So what do we do? We settle for a final weekend with plenty still on the line, and then we hope for a great October (and early November).

A few things to watch for this weekend, besides the Padres, Giants and Braves:

-- The seeding race. The Rays have the tiebreaker against the Yankees (by winning the season series), so they enter the weekend with a magic number of three to clinch the American League East. The winner in the East hosts the Rangers, while the loser in the East is the wild card and goes to Minnesota. The Rays also had a magic number of three to clinch the AL's best record, and home field in a possible second-round matchup with the Twins.

In the NL, the Phillies have already clinched the best record, but this weekend will determine the first-round matchups, and home-field for the other two division winners.

-- The awards race. Buster Posey's big home run Thursday (and his big September overall) had to make an impact with voters in the toughest NL Rookie of the Year race in years, and the toughest of the major award races this year. It might come down to who has the best weekend between Posey and Jason Heyward, although Florida's Gaby Sanchez also deserves consideration.

-- The playoff questions. Yankee fans worried about their rotation will watch closely to see how Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett pitch on Friday and Saturday against the Red Sox. Ranger fans worried about their lineup will watch closely to see how Josh Hamilton looks, assuming he's able to return to the lineup as scheduled on Friday against the Angels. Phillie fans will keep an eye on Jimmy Rollins, who is 1-for-8 in his first three games back from a hamstring injury.

-- The Pirates. Their road record is 16-62, which is historically bad. How bad? Well, in the era of the 162-game schedule, the fewest road wins any team has had are 17, by the 1963 Mets, followed by 18, by the 1962 Mets. The Pirates are in Florida this weekend, with three games to go.

On to 3 to watch:

1. The Giants are one of the hottest teams in baseball, with eight wins in their last 10 games and an 18-8 record in September. The Padres are one of the coldest, with four losses in the last five games and a 12-22 record over the last month-plus. The Giants pitching was amazing in September, with a 1.78 team ERA. The Padres offense has been shaky all year and awful recently, with 81 runs in 28 games in September (28th among the 30 major-league teams). Now the Padres need to sweep this weekend's three games, starting with Padres at Giants, Friday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park . Their opponent Friday is Matt Cain, who has given up two runs in his last 22 innings.

2. The Braves chose Saturday to honor Bobby Cox, who is retiring at the end of this season. With a magic number of two, the Braves could clinch Cox's record 16th playoff appearance as soon as Friday night. But it wouldn't be bad if the clinch comes Saturday, when the Braves and Padres will play at the same time. Tommy Hanson, the Braves' best starter of late, will go in Phillies at Braves, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Turner Field .

3. As unlikely as it is, we're still holding out hope for Game 163. So save time on Monday. Just make sure you've got something else to do if it doesn't happen.

Posted on: September 19, 2010 9:23 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 6:03 pm

3 to watch: The Philly dilemma edition

Three games back of the Phillies in the National League East, the best thing the Braves have going for them is six remaining head-to-head meetings with the Phils, starting with a series that begins Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Two and a half games ahead of the Padres in the NL wild-card race, the biggest thing the Braves have going against them is that they play six of their final 12 games against the league's best team -- the Phillies.

"It is tougher," Chipper Jones said. "But I don't think we'd want it any other way."

One reason, of course, is that the Braves would like to think that they can still win the East. To win the East now, they need for the Phillies to lose. The best way to guarantee that the Phillies lose is to beat them yourself.

The other reason is that the Braves actually have a winning record against the Phillies over the last two years. They went 10-8 last season, and they're 7-5 so far this year.

"The one thing we have done really well the last couple of years is play well against the Phillies," Jones said. "And we're going to have to. They're the best team in the National League, and for some reason, we get sky-high to play them.

"To beat them, we need to play a near-perfect game."

But to make the playoffs, the Braves don't need to finish ahead of the Phillies. They just need to win the wild card -- although that might necessitate beating the Phillies a few times.

"Now we can't split hairs," club president John Schuerholz said. "Now it's about getting to the playoffs."

But still, Schuerholz said he doesn't mind it that half of the Braves' remaining schedule features the Phils (with other six games against the Nationals and Marlins).

"It might be the energy level we need," he said. "They will be energized games."

And they're leading off this week's edition of 3 to watch (which doesn't include the Rangers, Twins or Reds, even though all three could clinch their divisions in the next few days:

1. The Phillies were easily able to adjust their rotation, so that the Braves will face Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, maybe the closest thing we've seen to a true Big Three since the days of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Braves would have had a harder time making similar adjustments, and thus ace Tim Hudson won't pitch in this series. The Braves planned to start off with Jair Jurrjens, in Braves at Phillies, Monday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park , but Jurrjens hurt his right knee in a bullpen session last Friday in New York. So 24-year-old Brandon Beachy, who was in Florida with the Braves' instructional league team, will get the start and make his major-league debut. Rookie Mike Minor and young Tommy Hanson are the other two Braves starters this week. The Phillies' Big Three would be lined up again to pitch in the final three regular-season games in Atlanta, although if the Phils have wrapped up the division by then, there's a chance they wouldn't all pitch.

2. Elsewhere on this site , I made what I thought was a reasoned but traditional case for Felix Hernandez as the American League's Cy Young leader. Hernandez could help his own case considerably with a big performance in Mariners at Blue Jays, Thursday afternoon (12:37 ET) at the Rogers Centre . The Jays have hit a major-league high 128 home runs in 69 home games (nearly two a game), and they average more than five runs a game at home. Hernandez hasn't faced the Blue Jays yet this year. Neither has CC Sabathia, who never lined up with any of the Yankees' first five series against the Jays (but figures to pitch in Toronto during the Yankees Sept. 27-29 visit).

3. First, Sabathia has a rematch with Tampa Bay's David Price, and if it's anything like their last game, it might be the 1 to watch this week. The first time around, a week ago in Florida, Sabathia and Price combined for 16 scoreless innings (eight apiece), while allowing just five hits (three of them off Price). They hook up again in Rays at Yankees, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium , and by the time it's over, we should have a better idea of who wins the American League East (and who's the AL wild card), and also of who is the leading threat to Hernandez's chance to win the Cy Young.

Posted on: November 16, 2009 4:13 pm

20-game winner or batting champ? Take your pick

There’s nothing wrong with Chris Coghlan and Andrew Bailey as Rookie of the Year winners.

But in a year with so many outstanding rookies, my question was different. And, as it turns out, so was the answer.

Taking all six players who received Rookie of the Year votes in the American League and all five who received first-place votes in the National League, I polled a group of scouts who watched each league and asked them which player they would most like to have for the future. Put another way, if all these players were available in a draft today, who’s the first pick?

The answers: Tommy Hanson of the Braves in the NL, Brett Anderson of the A’s in the AL.

Neither vote was unanimous. All the voters agreed that this is the best class of rookies baseball has seen in years.

“If you had all 11, you’d have a pretty good team,” one scout said.

The choice in the NL, another said, came down to “one guy who has a chance to be a 20-game winner [Hanson], and one who has a chance to lead the league in hitting [Coghlan].”

And in the AL, it came down to two potential top-of-the-rotation starters (Anderson and Detroit’s Rick Porcello), an infielder with real offensive potential (Gordon Beckham of the White Sox) and a shortstop with great defensive skills who shows signs of being able to hit (Elvis Andrus of the Rangers).

Oh, and don’t forget Bailey, the guy who actually won.

“He has a closer mentality, and closer stuff,” one scout said.

The choices here were Hanson, in a close vote over Coghlan and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, and Anderson, over Porcello, Andrus and Beckham.

Why Anderson, who finished fifth in the actual Rookie of the Year voting?

“This guy is a special left-handed starter, with a breaking ball like Steve Carlton,” one of the scouts said. “Every time out, he has a chance to throw a no-hitter. That’s how good his stuff is. His breaking ball is unhittable at times.”

And yet, he wasn’t even a unanimous pick.

“If Andrus learns how to hit,” one of the scouts said, “he might be better than all of them.”

Posted on: June 3, 2009 7:26 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2009 9:55 pm

Braves see opportunity in East

The Mets can't keep their players healthy. The Phillies' rotation remains shaky.

There's opportunity for the Braves in the National League East, and with three moves today they showed that they want to go for it. And on a day where they said good-bye to a future Hall of Famer and traded for an All-Star, it's the third move that could end up being the biggest.

Just a while after the Braves announced that they were releasing Tom Glavine, and just after they acquired Nate McLouth from the Pirates, the Braves said that super-prospect Tommy Hanson will make his big-league debut Saturday against the Brewers.

By releasing Glavine, the Braves showed that sentiment matters less than performance. By trading for McLouth, the Braves filled their perceived biggest need, for an outfielder who would improve their offense.

By promoting Hanson, the Braves added a guy who could be a big-time difference-maker.

In 66 1/3 Triple-A innings this year at Gwinnett, Hanson has 90 strikeouts and 17 walks. He dominated the Arizona Fall League, and impressed everyone who saw him this spring. Even then, there were those who wondered why the Braves had re-signed Glavine, rather than just start the year with Hanson.

"He could be what [Rick] Porcello has been for the Tigers," one scout said today, noting the 20-year-old Porcello's six wins.

As for McLouth, scouts are divided on whether he'll provide the boost the Braves need. At the least, he'll be an improvement over Jordan Schafer, who won the center-field job in spring training, but was sent to the minor leagues this week with a .204 batting average (and a .158 average in May).

The Braves had very little financial flexibility, but after releasing Glavine (who would have been owed a $1 million roster bonus), they can afford McLouth (who makes $2 million this year and is signed for $4.5 million and $6.5 million the next two years). The financial consideration was likely part of the Glavine decision, although the bigger reason for releasing him was that the Braves didn't feel he had enough left to succeed in the big leagues, and that they have better options.

The biggest of those options was Hanson, who takes the spot in the rotation that Glavine hoped to fill.

And even though Glavine is headed for the Hall of Fame, the arrival of Hanson could still be the biggest news of a busy Braves day.


Where do the Pirates fit in all of this? And why, for the second year in a row, are they trading "the face of the franchise"?

McLouth is just 27, and already an All-Star. But the Pirates have While McLouth is just 27, trading him fits into the Pirates' rebuilding plans. The organization is heavy on outfielders, and reports out of Pittsburgh say that top prospect Andrew McCutchen will be called up to take McLouth's place. Meanwhile, the Pirates have been trying to build pitching depth, and adding Morton (7-2, 2.51 at Triple-A Gwinnett) should help.

Still, the deal is another sign of how far the Pirates must go to become contenders again. This is the second straight year they have traded the so-called "face of the franchise," with Jason Bay going last year and McLouth this year.

Category: MLB
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