CHICAGO – It’s good the Braves have pitching depth, because they’re going to be without sore-shouldered Tommy Hanson longer than anticipated.
His scheduled bullpen session Tuesday at Wrigley Field was cancelled after Hanson felt soreness again in his troublesome pitching shoulder, this time following a mere nine-pitch throwing session Monday. That was the first time he threw from a mound since Aug. 6.
He’s been on the disabled list with what was diagnosed as tendinitis after an MRI on Aug. 9 showed no structural damage. Hanson got a cortisone injection that day and the Braves had hoped he’d be ready to start Aug. 16.
When his condition hadn’t improve quickly enough, that start was pushed back and the Braves kept rookie left-hander Mike Minor in the rotation.
Tuesday’s planned session was supposed to help determine whether Hanson was ready to make a minor-league rehab start Saturday. Now that start is out of the question, and the Braves said Hanson would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
The will wait till his condition improves before planning anything more. Hanson was not available for comment before Tuesday night’s game against the Cubs.
After the game, Hanson paused briefly to answer a question from reporters and said, “We’re taking it day to day right now.” He left it at that and hardly seemed distressed by Tuesday’s development.
Some eyebrows were raised Monday when he stopped after nine pitches. Hanson and manager Fredi Gonzalez insisted afterward that Hanson had only planned a brief session Monday to get loosened up and comfortable again on the mound. They said he’d throw a full session Tuesday.
But when the rest of the team went out for batting practice Tuesday and Brandon Beachy went to the bullpen for a between-starts throwing session, Hanson remained in the training room, stretched out on a table while getting treatment on his shoulder.
An hour later, the Braves announced the bullpen session was off because Hanson’s shoulder was sore from Monday’s brief workout. After Tuesday’s game, Gonzalez said again that he doesn’t think Hanson’s injury is serious.
In his last start, he gave up a career-high four homers and seven runs in 3-1/3 innings against the Mets on Aug. 6, slipping to 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA and .313 opponents’ average in five starts since the All-Star break. He was 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA and .190 OA before the break.
Costanza rests sore ankle
Jose Costanza was out of the lineup Tuesday with a mild right-ankle sprain, but Gonzalez said the outfielder might be ready to return as soon as Wednesday.
He turned his ankle in the sixth inning of Monday’s win against the Cubs when he stepped on the side of first base while beating out an infield hit.
The 27-year-old rookie has hit .372 in 23 games since arriving from Triple-A Gwinnett, playing mostly right field in place of struggling Jason Heyward. It’s Constanza’s first major-league callup, and the speedy Dominican has provided a surprising spark while collecting four extra-base hits (two homers), nine RBIs, 18 runs and seven stolen bases.
“Hopefully it’s nothing major … because he makes some stuff happen,” Gonzalez said after Constanza was hurt Monday.
By Tuesday afternoon, Gonzalez was relieved.
“He said it’s a lot better today,” the manager said. “I think maybe [he could play] as early as tomorrow.”
Heyward started in right field Tuesday and hit eighth, the first time he’d ever been that low in the order. Heyward had a huge game with three hits including a grand slam in a 5-4 win.