Hanson sharp in first start of second spring

Port St. Lucie, Fla. – When Tommy Hanson faced the Mets at Tradition Field last spring, he was a hotshot Braves prospect still learning the ropes, trying to make a good impression.

He struggled with his fastball and surrendered a two-run homer to Fernando Tatis.

Flash forward to Tuesday, when Hanson returned as a key member of a strong Braves rotation – a pitcher simply preparing for the season, not a kid trying to figure out the best way to win a major league job.

Hanson said he remembered that game against the Mets last spring.

“I kind of lost my command a little bit, trying to be too fine,” said the right-hander, who didn’t have that problem in Tuesday’s Grapefruit League opener. “All I wanted to do today was come out and throw strikes. Get in the strike zone and get comfortable out there. And I felt like I did that.

“Actually it went better than I expected.”

After Jesus Feliciano’s first-inning leadoff single, Hanson struck out the next two batters and retired six in a row. The lanky right-hander was charged with one hit, no walks and three strikeouts in two innings of a 4-2 Braves loss, and threw 17 strikes in 27 pitches.

“Early in camp you’re just trying to find the zone,” catcher Brian McCann said. “He located his pitches in the zone and pitched great.”

The Braves are counting a lot on Hanson, who was 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts as a rookie after being called from Class AAA at the beginning of June.

Hanson doesn’t consider himself a strikeout pitcher despite totaling 206  in 194 innings last season, including 116 strikeouts  in 127-2/3 innings in the majors.

He finished strong in the longest season of his professional career, posting a 2.41 ERA and 47 strikeouts with 14 walks in 41 innings over his last seven starts.

But strikeouts aren’t always by design. Take Tuesday, for instance.

“I think that was just a result of what happened,” he said. “That first inning I was throwing more pitches than I wanted to, getting deep in counts. I was trying not to do that, but I felt good with the pitches I got them out on. The pitches I got them out on were all quality pitches.”

He was especially pleased with his slider, which he said was the best it’s been since camp began, but also liked his curveball and the only changeup he threw.

“All my secondary pitches were really good,” Hanson said. “I’d say half of my fastballs were right where I wanted them. Just have to keep working on my fastball command. I feel like I’m close.”

19 comments Add your comment

Chopdawg

March 2nd, 2010
6:55 pm

I’ll let someone else be first…

Chopdawg

March 2nd, 2010
7:02 pm

OK, so go ahead, somebody…anybody…btw Thanks DOB

The Grinch

March 2nd, 2010
7:03 pm

Okay, Chopdawg. First.

Reid in EAV

March 2nd, 2010
7:18 pm

Thanks for the new blog, CHIEF! (Hmm, anybody seen McFann recently?) ;-)

glorydays

March 2nd, 2010
7:28 pm

Not checked in for awhile. What is the take on our opening day pitcher selection?
I like it, not because Lowe is the best but I have often wondered why not start with our #3 pitcher and improve the matchups for all other games (theoretically)

glorydays

March 2nd, 2010
7:30 pm

actually we are opeing with our #4, even better

keith lockhart

March 2nd, 2010
7:38 pm

keith lockhart

March 2nd, 2010
7:39 pm

if hanson get his changeup working for him he’s gonna be scary

ms coast brave

March 2nd, 2010
8:01 pm

Well the bullpen and hitting still don’t dissapoint.

Joe M

March 2nd, 2010
8:15 pm

In all this Jason Heyward went 1-1 with 2 walks. Hanson was impressive. Chipper was not in the line up. Seems like a scenario to get used to throughout the season.

northbeach Scott

March 2nd, 2010
9:43 pm

Joe M, Did you know that Chipper led the Braves in games played in 2009? What makes you think he will miss lots of games in 2010? Perhaps you have some inside information?

AdirondackDave

March 2nd, 2010
9:44 pm

Keith Lockhart — Hanson’s already scary.. with a quality change-up he’d be other-worldly.

AdirondackDave

March 2nd, 2010
9:54 pm

I noticed the Medlin put in a nice two innings as well. The kid flies below the radar but I see him as a potentially 2-3 starter in a good rotation in the future.

The Braves are definitely headed in the right direction stockpiling young talent. They may make the playoffs this year or maybe not but they have the makings of a powerful club in this decade ahead.

richbrave

March 2nd, 2010
11:06 pm

richbrave

March 2nd, 2010
11:05 pm
OMG, the BRAVES have lost to the MELTS, all is lost.

Braves Paisan

March 3rd, 2010
4:41 am

Fellow Denizens, let’s get JAZZED about our team this year!

DOB: any chance we land that last piece we need — a power bat for the OF?

38YearBravesFan

March 3rd, 2010
5:41 am

Braves Paisan – yeah, his name is Heyward….

GO BRAVES!!

Bobby McGee

March 3rd, 2010
7:56 am

Is it too early for a CY Young for the young pitcher ?
If the Braves can score him some runs maybe ?

Mutts

March 3rd, 2010
8:21 am

The Braves starting pitching is the class of the National League. If Wagner stays helathy and the offense can score 4-5 runs per game we will win 90+ games in 2010.

GO BRAVES!

Clip file 3.3.10 — NYFSBlogs

March 3rd, 2010
2:01 pm

[...] Does John Smoltz prefer Congress to the Mets? Recap Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward in their game against the [...]

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