Hanson Ready for Spring

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Tommy Hanson will be ready for spring training. Hanson was on his way to another strong season when a small tear in his rotator cuff was discovered in August. The tear did not require surgery, and the team shut down Hanson for the remainder of the season.

Had the Atlanta Braves made the playoffs last season, there was some speculation that Hanson would have rejoined the team after two months of rest. The Braves’ collapse down the stretch probably benefitted Hanson, as he’s had the entire offseason to rest and rehabilitate his shoulder. If Hanson had pushed himself to pitch in the playoffs before he was ready — and re-injured his shoulder — there’s a good chance his outlook would be less rosy today.

While we won’t know how well Hanson is doing until we see him pitch again, this comes as positive news for the Braves, who are also managing past injury issues with Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens. Hudson had back surgery during the offseason but is expected to be ready for spring training, and Jurrjens will be returning from a knee injury that cut his 2011 season short.

With Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran nearly ready to contribute — and Kris Medlen returning from injury — the Braves are one of the few teams that can get by if one of their pitchers suffer a setback.

Having a healthy Hanson would be a substantial gain for the Braves. Considering the team missed out on the playoffs due to injuries, Hanson’s recovery is the first sign that the team could be in line for a successful playoff run this season.




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Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.


30 Responses to “Hanson Ready for Spring”

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  1. Josh says:

    Expected and great news. The Braves didn’t need to make a lot of additions this offseason. They just needed to get healthy. Here’s to a great push for the division or wildcard(s)! Hanson can be a dominant starter if he can just stay healthy, always a big if.

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  2. cable fixer says:

    I’ve read in some less erudite fantasy sources that Hanson suffers from durability issues–in each season in the show, his performance suffers after 100 IP because his fastball velocity tails off.

    You know those neat Pitch F/X FAv charts? How do you make one of them? I’d love to see whether/the degree to which that claim is accurate.

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  3. adohaj says:

    hopefully he can keep that K/9 above 9 while he eats the innings

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  4. Not Dave says:

    Using injuries as an excuse for missing the playoffs? It was a giant choke job, not injuries that did them in.

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  5. hernandez17 says:

    His arm action still troubles me. The whole stopping the elbow in mid-motion business. If he throws 180 innings they will be good innings with a likely high K rate, but from a fantasy perspective, buyer beware. I think occasional 15-day DL stints might be the norm for Hanson.

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    • baty says:

      His wind up is pretty strange… It’s really tough to see where he gets his leverage from. I think what concerns me most about his arm action is that with exception to a strong push off, it looks like he generates his forward power only with his shoulder and arm. The momentum elsewhere basically results in an upright jerky rotating twist towards first base.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      That’s not the issue I see as the cause for his shoulder issues. Its the active deceleration of his pitching arm after release. The arm should be allowed to slow down naturally and brake against the body. Hanson uses his muscles to slow it down quicker and eventually recoil back.

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      • Bath says:

        Yeah, he does. Pretty interesting

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      • Cidron says:

        in the medical community (not research), the word “interesting” is usually bad. And, as we are talking about a medical condition (healing, dl stints, rehab)….

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      • baty says:

        Sure… I was only paying attention to the weirdness with how he accelerates his motion… didn’t even catch the weirdness with how he decelerates. I can definitely see that being stressful.

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  6. harpago17 says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Hudson’s not neccesarily expected to be ready for spring training. GM Frank Wren and pitching coach Roger McDowell have been quoted in recent days saying that Hudson might be held back until the end of April or early May before joining the rotation of the major league team. I assume that means he still will be in Spring Training working, but that they might just try to hold him back a little bit at the beginning of the season to make sure his back is fully healed (and make sure he is strong down the stretch).

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    • TK says:

      Braves will only need 2 starts from 5th starter in April. So if rotation is Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy and Minor, and who knows for 5th, not bad. Even without one of these, not that bad.

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  7. Ben Hall says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Are there many pitchers who have rotator cuff issues that don’t eventually turn into full blown shoulder issues? I have no idea, wondering if anyone does.

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    • Andy G. says:

      Dr. Andrews said that 3 of 4 pitchers have the same tear in the rotator cuff that Hanson does. It’s natural wear and tear. The inflammation in his shoulder last year was caused by a back injury that messed up his mechanics.

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  8. bvillebaron says:

    Injuries down the stretch didn’t help, but since the Braves missed clinching the playoffs by 2 lousy games, the real problem was Gonzalez’ and/or Wren’s idiotic decision to keep sending Derek Lowe out to pitch batting practice during the stretch run, including the pivotal final game instead of pitching Teheran or Medlen (cf Matt Moore and TB).

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    • Undocorkscrew says:

      Moore’s superhuman and was 22-years-old. Teheran was 20, he was shaky at best in his short stint and Medlen was coming off Tommy John surgery. Lowe was a HUGE reason why they made the playoffs in 2010, he was phenomenal down the stretch and kept that team afloat after losing Chipper, Jurrjens, and Prado. They had other options, but I can’t really fault them for sending Lowe out there.

      And didn’t Hudson start game 162?

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        You can’t fault them for starting Lowe the first few times, but it was pretty obvious he was gone. After he goes 5ER/5IP, 4ER/6IP, and especially the next start, 6ER/2.1IP, I don’t see how you didn’t do everything in your power to try to start someone else.

        Of course, using O’ventrebral so much probably hurt them too, but hindsight is 20/20. Maybe if he doesn’t use them so much early in the season, they aren’t even in the position to choke.

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  9. bstar says:

    FWIW, Sep. 2010 was the only month of his Braves career that Lowe posted an ERA under 3.00. But the timing was nice. We’re still waaaaaaay better with him gone.

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    • Nick says:

      ERA for a month – what a great, insightful stat!

      you can’t spell bstar without BS!

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      • bstar says:

        We were talking about one particular month. What would you use for a monthly stat, FIP?

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        obvioulsy bstar, don’t you know that ALL pitchers, even ground ball guys like Lowe, are best evaluated with a stat that only looks at homers, ks, and bbs?

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  10. Antonio Bananas says:

    Honestly, I don’t expect Hanson to stay healthy. His delivery looks weird to me, a real violent jerk going from a sort of inverted “L” position. Plus his elbow is above his shoulder I believe which I’ve heard is a bad sign. On top of both of those, his motion is like “slow, slow, fast” which I’ve also heard is bad (causes the violent jerk). Apparently there are also issues in his follow through mentioned above. It’s a shame because he can be dominant. Most reports I hear about guys being healthy I throw in the “best shape of my life” pile.

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