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.