Sore-shouldered Hanson has tear in rotator cuff

NEW YORK – Tommy Hanson had another MRI on his sore shoulder Friday, after which he and Braves heard words no pitcher wants to hear: tear in the rotator cuff.

The Braves, however, said the specific type of injury that Hanson has – a small undersurface rotator cuff tear – usually doesn’t require surgery, and general manager Frank Wren said the team remained hopeful that Hanson “can return in the next few weeks.”

But with just 30 games left in the regular season, it’s uncertain if there’s enough time left for Hanson to make it back even if he has no further setbacks. He’s been on the disabled list nearly three weeks and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 6.

Two other words that raise red flags when it comes to pitchers’ injuries:  James Andrews. The renowned orthopedic surgeon will meet with Hanson on Monday at Andrews’ clinic in Pensacola, Fla. Andrews will presumably look over the MRI and give his recommendation.

Hanson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7 with what had been diagnosed as tendinitis. An MRI Aug. 9 showed no structural damage, just as an MRI in in June showed no structural damage. Both times, Hanson was diagnosed tendinitis and given a cortisone shot.

He came back from the first DL stint and pitch well for several starts, though he conceded that the shoulder was still tight at times.

The MRI Friday was a more sophisticated dye-contrast, where dye is injected in a vein in order to provide a more clear, detailed picture of the area to be examined.

“It was not a new injury, based on the MRI reading,” Wren said. “It appears to have been the source of Tommy’s discomfort.”

Monday’s session at Wrigley Field was the first time Hanson threw on a mound since Aug. 6, when he was rocked for a career-high four homers and seven runs in 3-1/3 innings against the Mets. He has a 1-3 record with an 8.10 ERA and .313 opponents’ average in five starts since the All-Star break, after going 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA and .190 OA before the break.

Rookie left-hander Mike Minor will continue filling in for Hanson. Minor is 4-2 in 10 starts, including 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his past five.

Rotation could be shuffled

Jair Jurrjens and Minor were the Braves’ scheduled starters Saturday and Sunday against  the Mets, but now those games have been postponed because of Hurricane Irene.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t sure how he would line up the rotation after the Braves have what nearly amounts to another All-Star break in late August – they’re off for the next three days, including Monday’s open date on the schedule. Gonzalez planned to hash it out with pitching coach Roger McDowell and announce pitching plans later this weekend, perhaps at the Braves’ planned workout Sunday at Turner Field.

Gonzalez wants to avoid a repeat of the situation the Braves had at the All-Star break, when a couple of pitchers ended up getting nearly double their normal rest and not pitching well coming out of the break. They could have a pitcher throw in simulated game conditions at the workout Sunday, or Gonzalez also mentioned the possibility of having a pitcher make a minor league start.

If a pitcher was sent to a minor league affiliate that’s finishing its season, that pitcher would not have to wait the normal 10-day period to return to the majors after being optioned to a minor league team. He could return as soon as that affiliate’s season concluded, which would next week for some Braves minor-league teams.

81 comments Add your comment


August 26th, 2011
7:43 pm

Lets hope for the best

ray k.

August 26th, 2011
7:57 pm

Oh, boy. Well, it seemed inevitable.

Max Sizemore

August 26th, 2011
7:59 pm

Those MLB insiders who said that Hanson’s mechanics would likely lead to injury may in fact be correct.

Senator Blutarski

August 26th, 2011
8:00 pm

–if he really does end up needing surgery for a better long-term outlook, I hope he does it…sure it would be nice to have him back around post-season time, but gotta look at the big picture, long-term. Minor has been doing all right filling in…good thing the Braves have been stock-piling quality young pitchers.


August 26th, 2011
8:13 pm



August 26th, 2011
8:19 pm

Logic has always givin the ominous foreshadowing that a pitcher who puts that much torque on his shoulder/elbow would eventually blow one of them out. Why hadn’t anyone ever helped him modify his delivery to be more ergonomically correct….seems too obvious.


August 26th, 2011
8:34 pm

@max and @smoltzfan: correct, his mechanics have always spelled “blown-out shoulder and career…if the staff doesn’t do anything to smooth Tommy’s delivery out, and soon, he won’t last very long, and a fine talent will be wasted.


August 26th, 2011
8:37 pm

He has always thrown the same way – all arm . Leg action is just as important, sometimes more so, according to Tom Seaver and several other successful pitchers.


August 26th, 2011
8:37 pm

get mad dog to help him on his mechs

hand solo

August 26th, 2011
8:40 pm

waive the sob


August 26th, 2011
8:43 pm

Career probably done. Sad.


August 26th, 2011
9:01 pm

He needs to change his mechanics otherwise he will have ARM problems his entire career. What a horrible performance against a horrible team like the Mets. This team needs to get more consistent if it wants any shot at making some noise in the playoffs this year. Capuano has flat out embarrassed this team, and Hudson is getting beat like a red headed step child.

LOB Braves

August 26th, 2011
9:06 pm

Why can’t we hit a guy that throws 70 to 80 but everyone else in the NL can?


August 26th, 2011
9:07 pm

The Braves are extremely lucky that they are only down by 2 runs. Hudson has looked awful and has given up 11 hits to this point. Can’t believe they are only down by 2 runs.


August 26th, 2011
9:18 pm

I tore my right rotator cuff a few years ago, had surgery, and it left my shoulder pretty weak. I can’t imagine how anyone could pitch in the MLB after tearing a rotator cuff.
Hopefully Dr. Andrews has some miracle surgery for MLB pitchers and Tommy can come back from this.
I see Linebrink is not able to hold again.


August 26th, 2011
9:20 pm

I always thought Tommy would blow out his elbow first.

Doc Holliday

August 26th, 2011
9:32 pm

Yes, but Sunny Skies Simpson said it was no big deal..that every player on the field has a form of that injury.


August 26th, 2011
9:35 pm

Simpson has devolved into Tim McCarver.


August 26th, 2011
9:42 pm

@BravesfaninWis… ease up on the Makers, dude… They are playing .600 ball for the year.. Even the Phillies lose ocasionally…


August 26th, 2011
9:45 pm

F’N pathetic. To get shut completely down against the Mets and Capuano is embarrassing. No excuse for this crap. What a pathetic game all around for the Braves.

Mets R Best

August 26th, 2011
9:48 pm

Braves fans: I told you not to fear the hurricane, but to fear the Amazing Mets. Tonight’s 6 to 0 whipping didn’t even come from our best pitcher; but the Mighty Mets batters were facing your ace.
Just to recap. Braves -vs- Mets 2011:
Last 10 games—Mets have won 6
Last 13 games—Mets have won 7
Mets -vs- Braves, the Mets are better. And our top players are on the DL! Can’t wait to see you again in New York on 9/8. Reyes may be back.


August 26th, 2011
9:50 pm

Unreal, all the Braves could manage is 2 hits against Capuano. He pitches a complete game and he has been a washed up version of his younger self when he was with the Brewers. They deserved to lose this game, and go figure, the Phillies lost so the Braves could have moved closer in the division. Looks like they are content with being second best.


August 26th, 2011
9:53 pm

I’m sure there’s a reason but you’d think they’d start with the most sophisticated test instead of relying on a lesser test and risk further damage


August 26th, 2011
9:53 pm

Wait till the season is over and see where your Mets are and where our Braves are. Enough said. Your Mets suck and even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while.

Mister Frisky

August 26th, 2011
9:58 pm

Won’t have to worry about a big contract for Hanson Boras or no Boras.


August 26th, 2011
9:59 pm

@Mets R Best…. You are joking, right?? I used to go up for the US Open and look down on Shea Stadium and wonder what arse hole would even want to go to a game there… I’m surprised they didn’t run the rails thru the stadium… Chipper owned you folks there also, by the way… See you in the playoffs, NOT!


August 26th, 2011
10:04 pm

… @Mets… You probably were not around back in ‘62 but I trekked up to the Polo Grounds and watched Marvelous Marv Throneberry and the amazin Mets screw up infield practice. I won’t mention what happened in the game..They were the original Bad News Bears….

ExBraves Fan

August 26th, 2011
10:12 pm

Well I feel for the guy. As one who had rotator surgery, of course at a much more advanced age than this kid (I have 3 kids older than Hanson), I can tell you it is not fun, it will be very sore and takes a long time to heal and for you to get your full rotation back in the shoulder. It has been over 2 years since I had two tears in my rotator repaired. To this day I still cannot reach with my left hand but a few inches above the belt when I place my left hand behind my back and attempt to lift it up towards the shoulder. I can reach well up the back with my right arm, but not the left. The doctor told me I may never get full ability to lift the arm up behind me again. It takes a lot out of the shoulder. I hope this guy can get by without the surgery. Small tears that do not heal, make larger tears and then the deposits start to build up and cram in the shoulder sockets. That is what my major problem later became.


August 26th, 2011
10:22 pm

I see that Mets R Best has returned to the board to perform his usual duties as the village idiot!


August 26th, 2011
10:28 pm

Wren hopes that Hanson will be able to pitch in a couple of weeks? I think they need to shut him down for the rest of the season. Let this thing have a chance to heal and let him rehab it over the winter.


August 26th, 2011
10:35 pm

Why didn’t the Braves do the more advanced test earlier? They can certainly afford it. They say NOW that this rotator cuff tear was the problem from the beginning. Perhaps the treatment wouild have been different if a correct diagnosis had been made. I am glad Dr. Andrews has become involved NOW. The Braves have an efficient organization in most ways, but, ahving served in the Army medical department and having a medical technologist as a wife, I think the Braves’ medical staff is DEFINITELY nothing to brag about.

Braves Fan In NJ

August 26th, 2011
10:37 pm

Time for the Young Guys part 2!!

Another Clueless Braves Blogger

August 26th, 2011
10:54 pm

Mets R Best: Life’s just not fair. Here you have the best team in baseball, the New York Mets with seemingly no chance to make the play offs in 2011, and there you have the Atlanta Braves with almost no chance of not making the play offs. It’s down right criminal!

Enough is enough

August 26th, 2011
11:29 pm

Two more words that strike terror and induce nausea: Scott Linebrink. Wish it were his name instead of Hanson’s in that headline (not that I wish injury on him or anyone else, but if it has to be somebody…). I am sure Mr. Linebrink excels at something. Pitching for the Braves is not that thing. How about we let Corky Miller pitch?! Sheeeeeesh.


August 26th, 2011
11:43 pm

57% of patients with a partial tear of the rotator cuff tendon do not experience pain. However, with partial tearing, multiple cortisone injections (within a year) are contraindicated. Way to go, MD…


August 26th, 2011
11:49 pm

Injecting MRI contrast agents is not the routine first test for a sore shoulder. A normal MRI is less invasive. If surgery is not required, this diagnosis does not change the treatment approach.

Busch leaguer

August 26th, 2011
11:50 pm

Might as well shut down Hanson for this season.Luckily with a big lead in the wild card the Braves can use one of their young AAA arms to finish out the regular season. Most likely the Braves will only use 4 starters in the playoffs or maybe only 3 in the NLDS. Just wonder whether Lowe will be 3rd or 4th starter.

Hard on the Beaver Ward

August 27th, 2011
12:18 am

This team will play 166 games this season. Bet on it.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]


August 27th, 2011
1:00 am

I have a sheitty sounding required name

Just Wanna Say

August 27th, 2011
1:36 am

Wow, some of you are just full of optimism surrounding Tommy. Someone seriously said that his career is over? Really dude? He might not even need surgery.


August 27th, 2011
2:52 am

%^&** chill out people. lifetime Braves fan here getting sick of the ignorance some people have with all the negativity. Braves have been one of the hottest teams over the last month or so. lose a game and people lose their freaking mind. sad… fans are turning into philly south now


August 27th, 2011
4:28 am

Two other words …: Dr. James Andrews.

I lol’ed

Frank from KS (now living in CO)

August 27th, 2011
6:33 am

As I said on one of the main blogs, it’s awfully damn funny, Glavine (the guy Hanson replaced) never went on the DL unTIL his last season with the Braves in 08 (or 09).

coach joe

August 27th, 2011
7:20 am

we have plenty of pitching. one game does not a season make. we are one of the top four teams in baseball…phillies/braves seven games to see who goes to the World Series.

stop ragging on the team and enjoy them Be glad your not an Astros fan..



August 27th, 2011
9:07 am

You’ve got to be nuts to even think of bringing Hansen back this year, if you do all you are going to get is questionable pitching, the downside being risking further injury, he needs the rest of the year off so that he can return next year.

Now is Franks opportunity to utilize the other two young arms to bolster the pitching staff plus Minor has Hansen covered and Vizcaiano has already bolstered the bull pen.


August 27th, 2011
9:36 am

Myself, I do not miss Hanson and hope he never returns, when you combine him with McCann’s throwing arm every walk or single becomes an automatic double. As for last nites game, I didn’t watch it because they were doomed before the game even started. I watched the pre-game show and listened to Brian Jordan raveing about how great Tim Hudson is and has been and at the same time blasting the Mets sorry pitcher and how crippled up they were, I knew then the Braves would get their Butts kicked and they did, thank god I did not watch. Whatever Jordan says you can bet your sweet ass the oposite will happen.


August 27th, 2011
9:45 am

I worked as a trainer in a previous career and it has always amazed me that Hanson ever made it out of the minors(heck I’m surprised he made it out of little league) without having his delivery changed. Someone mentioned Tom Seaver, but I also remember Nolan Ryan being notoriously strong in his legs and hips. The man pitched into his mid 40s when he retired, and it was only because he began having knee problems. The word to describe his delivery is “violent”. Sad, but this may be the beginning of the end for Tommy.

Bob the Blogger

August 27th, 2011
9:48 am

Why did Hanson have to have his third MRI before they put the dye in to be able to see the tear? As important as a starting pitcher is to a MLB team, why would they wait to do this? They let Schafer play with a broken bone in this hand in 2009 by not diagnosing it properly. Geez, you would think in this age of medical technology they could do a little better than that.


August 27th, 2011
10:16 am

Move Hanson to the bullpen to lesson his wear and tear. When Moylen comes back, then we would have 5 innings covered by our bullpen. Add in some of the young guys when the rosters expand and we’d have 8 innings covered. Then our starters only need to pitch 1 inning. They can come back on short rest. Heck, move everybody to the bullpen. Then we can pinch hit whenever our pitchers are at bat.
Of course, I’m just kidding.

Seriously, I hope the best for the Braves, JJ, and Hanson but being that they are both Boras clients, I would rather it be them then say Hudson if someone were to go down with an injury.

Dawgdad (The Original)

August 27th, 2011
10:26 am

As a life long rec baseball coach, I can say that it is extremely difficult to change a kids throwing motion after he has become comfortable throwing that way. I have tried to change a few, and ultimately you may make some minor changes to help, but they usually revert to what feels right. It takes a lot of will power on the kids part to do something strange long enough to get used to it. The secret is to have good coaching at the six or seven year old age range and teach the proper throwing motion. I suspect that Tommy learned on his own and was not amicable with anyone changing him.

The fact that Billy Wagner, a natural righthander taught himself to throw left handed has always amazed me. He had 100 times the discipline of most kids that age.

Big Dude

August 27th, 2011
10:59 am

Put Tommy aside for the year; Bring in a good AAA pitcher (if they have one) and just try and hold on to 2nd place. When the playoffs come, they can go to 3 pitchers and use Lowe as a bull pen “only if necessary pitcher”.


August 27th, 2011
11:42 am

I’d just call it a year for him. We have the arms and don’t need to risk really hurting him or having him being ineffective in the post season. I am very sorry for this news, but at least it is not a position player who we would have a harder time replacing. Get well soon, Tommy.


August 27th, 2011
11:49 am

Hanson is going to have to re-do his delivery, he will eventually blow out his arm.


August 27th, 2011
11:55 am

When Hanson first came up he had a 95+ fastball. I cannot recall him throwing anything over 92 and a lot at 90-91 so far this year. I could understand where you do not necessarily use your best fastball every pitch, but there were times when I wondered why he did not cut it loose in certain situations where a little extra was called for. Seems now that was all he had. Get it fixed and get back out there in 2012 TH. Do not mess with your career.

But this makes me wonder….why not just do the die injection MRI the first time? It wasted 6-8 weeks and probably made it worse.


August 27th, 2011
12:27 pm

SunnySkies Simpson! LOL, I love it. I swear the announcers must have a list of excuses, and they just pick one.


August 27th, 2011
12:33 pm

Ask any sports physician you know about Hanson’s mechanics and they’ll tell you: “A problem waiting to happen in either the shoulder or elbow.” So it’s happened. We’ll see what Dr. Andews says, but I expect surgery, rehab, and a ? for the future. Good thing we’re loaded with young pitchers both for this year and the future. Soon we’ll see what Delgado and Teheran have got on a more regular schedule.


August 27th, 2011
12:50 pm

Back in the 1970s, the Reds had a fireballer by the name of Gary Nolan. He had a funny motion and soon blew a gasket. Dr. Frank Jobe fixed him up, but he was never the same. Seaver is 100% right about mechanics. Even if this kid has a “small” tear of his rotator cuff and does recover, it’ll just be more of the same.


August 27th, 2011
12:55 pm

I know next to nothing about pitching mechanics, but I was observing his “wonky” delivery 3 years ago and how aggressive it seemed to be and how much movement seemed somewhat wasted. It sucks so much that it’s such a serious injury so late in the season. Methinks they should do the dye-injected MRIs the second time (or even first time at this major league level) and not keep waiting, especially when the patient keeps saying “gee, it hurts.” I agree, take him out for the season. He’d be rushing to come back by the playoffs, and coming back into the playoffs is a bad, bad idea. I also agree about Lowe in the playoff bullpen. 3, maybe 4, good innings is all he has in him usually, so let’s stop setting him up to fail.

Spud Webb

August 27th, 2011
1:09 pm

SHUT HIM DOWN…no need to risk him ripping that thing apart. Tommy, we’ll miss you this season, but need you for many, many more. Hope the braves are smart about this.


August 27th, 2011
1:47 pm

Some of the bloggers on this page are so ignorant! The Braves are 25 games over .500. They have an 8 and a half lead in the wild-card, and due to the fact that most of them had a bad night, and weren’t in the game mentally because of the fact that they check in to a hotel for one night, had to pack up the next day before they have played one game in the series, and had to get ready to fly again on consecutive nights, these people all want to jump off a bridge! Please jump, and make sure you don’t scream on the way down, because I don’t want to hear another thing out of any of your mouths!

Mr Bill

August 27th, 2011
2:24 pm

We need another NHL team asap!

up north

August 27th, 2011
2:49 pm

send Lowe down


August 27th, 2011
3:36 pm

with or without Hanson, the Braves stll can’t hit lefties. they were embarrassed by a junk baller who also has had surgery issues. it’s good the next 2 in NY were postponed. leadoff guy can’t strike out 4 times. you can’t steal first base. I can accept a loss, but not like that.
Wren is always talking like a politician. he likely knows Hanson isn’t returning this year.
knowing the Braves, the simpler MRI may have been partly to save money.
the Pirates spent more money on their 2nd round pick than the Braves spent on all 35 they signed per figures from BA (before anyone accuses me of inventing this).


August 27th, 2011
4:09 pm

1. The Braves totally phoned yesterday’s game in. It all spell disaster if the braves face a Lefty who can pitch low in the zone.

2. How the #@$!! can doctors miss a torn rotator cuff? Are the Braves so cheap that they don’t do both an MRI w/ and w/o contrast (ink) This is not the first time they have miss-diagnosed one of our players. I guess this is another negative for having cheap owners.

Mike McDonald

August 27th, 2011
6:31 pm

Freddi is like the poor relation who has inherited significant treasure and doesn’t have a clue as to how to handle it. The treasure being a mother lode of starters and relievers, mixed with a modicum of dross, namely Linebrink and Sherrill.

Capuano pitched an unbeatable game … aided and abetted by Freddi’s lack of asset management and street savvy. To wit, Hudson was on the ropes from the get go and was lucky to get through five innings without surrendering a run. A tight rope walk from the start while Capuano was brilliant and inspirational for the Mets. Freddi knew that after a day off on Thursday, the Braves would be inactive from Sunday until at least Tuesday. A shrewd such as Tony La Russa would likely have gone to a strategy that took advantage of the impending long break. Perhaps thinking from the outset that he could use virtually his entire arsenal of reliable long, mid and short arms to max the gift/advantage of the schedule, courtesy of the weather. Hudson for four at most, Jurrjens for two or three depending upon results and perhaps Minor or Martinez or Vizcaino for an inning or two before even considering O’Flaherty, Ventners or Kimbrell.

As it turned out, even Venters gave up two runs that would have been enough for the Mets to win. However, if the Mets were locked in a pitcher’s duel, rather than the one-sided dominance of Capuano, things might have been tighter and the outcome more in question.

The point is not that we lost to a better pitcher and team last night, which we certainly did. But rather that Freddi and McDowell failed to see the handwriting on the wall vis a vis Hudson and failed to more strategically approach the Friday’s game plan given the unique opportunity it presented for out of the box thinking.

When the playoff-offs begin, this kind out carpe diem opportunism will be imperative.

Braves rule

August 27th, 2011
8:19 pm

Send them all down to the minors lol. Every last one of them.


August 27th, 2011
8:50 pm

so many pitcher have came back strong enought after dr. james andrews had work.., but tommy john and rotarior cuff are so different…AFTER ALL HE NEEDS TO CHANGE HIS MECHANICS….sorru but I´m not optimistic about it/him…

Wookie. Ninja

August 27th, 2011
10:56 pm

Welp another overrated hyped up prospect bites the dust.Go Tommy all the way back to Cali


August 28th, 2011
12:53 am


Love your post. :)

It amazes me just how many Philly fans troll these blogs.



August 28th, 2011
8:55 am

Mets are best…….pal, you are looking at a possible last place finish in the East. Are you sure you are watching baseball and not some other sport? When your team plays at a .590 pct come back and talk. Until then I would keep a lid on it. You sound sort of foolish.

Packers Ed

August 28th, 2011
10:32 am

Cudos to Frank Wren for not trading away talented young pitching at the past trade deadline.


August 28th, 2011
11:29 am

Agree with Heisenberg, why not use the most sophisticated tests on these prized athletes from the beginning? The investment in these guys is huge, so why screw around?

John A

August 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

Perhaps we need to replace the Doc, and also Mr. McDowell


August 29th, 2011
8:14 am

I really wish reporters would start reporting. Which of the 4 rotator cuff muscles is hurt. If we knew we could tell Mr Hanson how to fix the problem. I will guess that it is the Teres Minor muscle. If not, Mr Hanson better be very sure of who he is dealing with.

In any event, he has too much side to side movement in his pitching motion. Relatively easy to fix. Rest, cortisone shots and surgery are not the answers. good luck


August 29th, 2011
9:09 am

Way to go, medical staff! Job not well done.


August 29th, 2011
12:52 pm

Just wondering if some of you so called Braves fans are really Braves fans at all!

Mark's for the Braves

August 29th, 2011
1:10 pm

Shut Hanson down and go ahead and do Tommy John surgery. Medlen will be back in 2012 and we have Minor, Tehran, and Delgado to fill in for 2012.


August 29th, 2011
8:01 pm

Jgolds06, agree, though most are phillies posing and trash tlkin, although BravesfanWis is always negative, & others just plain dont kno baseball & think its a simple easy sport. I think and hope they go ahead and shut him down though, at this point seems to be only smart option, I’m sure mngmnt. throwin smokescreens to keep opponents in the dark, he’s our future ace ( yes IM still optomistic) & a great talent to do what he does how he does it, but fairly obvious (HAS been) he needs to tweak the delivery, good luck Tommy and get healthy! Hope there’s good news 2nite

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