Coming off one of his most dominant starts, Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson had his three-game winning streak put on pause Friday when he went on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.
An MRI of his right shoulder showed no structural damage, but he has inflammation of the posterior rotator cuff and agreed with Braves officials it should be taken care of than continuing to pitch through discomfort.
“It’s been bothering me probably, like, the last three starts,” said Hanson, who went 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and .123 opponents’ average in his past three starts, including a career-high 14 strikeouts in seven innings Sunday at Houston. “Just in-between starts and getting loose. Once I get in the game and get going, it feels fine.
“I kind of thought it was tendinitis from the get-go. It just didn’t get better, and we didn’t want it to get worse. Or for me to change my arm slot or do something different and really [mess] something up.”
The Braves announced during Thursday’s game that Hanson (8-4, 2.48 ERA) was scratched from his scheduled Friday start against Texas, but said they would wait to make a DL decision after he was reevaluated. After having an MRI on Friday, the decision was made.
“Everything was good [on the MRI],” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Friday. “We had to make a move. He would only miss one [more] start, because he’s going to miss this one anyway. He’ll miss the next one, and hopefully all that stuff calms down. He feels good about it.”
The Braves called up prospect Randall Delgado from Double-A Mississippi to start Friday against the defending American League champion Rangers. No decision has been made on who’ll make Hanson’s next rotation turn, but Brandon Beachy is a strong candidate.
Beachy is on the DL recovering from an oblique strain and struck out eight in five innings of his first rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Gwinnett. He was to have one more rehab start, but the Braves could instead have him take Hanson’s spot Wednesday against Toronto.
Hanson led the National League with a .189 opponents’ average and ranked second in ERA behind teammate Jair Jurrjens (2.13) before Friday. He was tied with Jurrjens and three others for third in wins.
On Sunday at Houston, he became the first pitcher in franchise history to strike out as many as 14 in as few as seven innings. Now, his winning streak and All-Star push are on hold.
“It [stinks] when you know you’re supposed to pitch and you’re not pitching,” Hanson said. “It’s not fun. But I guess it’s better to make sure everything’s OK. Get rid of the discomfort, then come back and finish the season off strong.”
It was no lost upon Hanson that his tendinitis coincided with a stretch of games in which he pitched superbly. He was relieved to learn the MRI results, and planned to speak with a Braves doctor late Friday to get his rehab plan.
“There’s just inflammation in there,” he said. “It’s right when I get to extension [with his arm], out in front. It just kind of bites a little bit, almost feels like it’s rusty. I’ve had tendinitis before. It felt like that. We just didn’t want it to become something else. This time of the season, there was no reason to keep running out there and if something was wrong, making it worse.”