LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Tommy Hanson missed his third consecutive workout day since sustaining a concussion in a one-car accident on Monday, when he went off the road while driving to the ballpark for the Braves’ opening workout.
The 6-foot-6 pitcher was diagnosed with a Grade 1 concussion and manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves would be cautious easing him back into action, perhaps beginning on Thursday.
“I think he’s going to come out tomorrow and just do a little bit of stuff,” said Gonzalez, who said Hanson would likely begin with some work on a stationary bike. “But we might not see him on the field, until we make sure that he gets cleared.”
Hanson has not spoken with reporters since the accident and hasn’t suited up for the first three days of workouts for pitchers and catchers. The Braves’ first full-squad workout is Saturday.
Gonzalez said he didn’t think missing the first five days of workouts would set Hanson back. He confirmed Hanson and Jurrjens are leading candidates to start opening day with Tim Hudson expected to miss at least a few weeks recovering from back surgery.
Teheran, Delgado not ‘pen candidates
Braves top pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado are projected to be in a starting rotation to begin the season, rather than the major league bullpen.
After saying a few weeks ago that Teheran or Delgado would be bullpen candidates if one or the other didn’t win a spot in the starting rotation, Gonzalez changed course Wednesday and said the two needed to pitch as starters, in the majors or minors.
Teheran and Delgado will compete with Mike Minor for the fifth spot in the Braves’ rotation, but two of the three are expected in the opening-day rotation with one filling in temporarily for Hudson.
You hate to send one of those kids to the bullpen as a long guy,” Gonzalez said, “when we could have them in Double-A or Triple-A – I assume both will pitch Triple-A, or Minor would pitch Triple-A – where at least you could let them pitch every fifth day.”
Fredi G on Constanza: “He fits”
When asked if Jose Constanza would get a look this spring as a possible roster candidate, Gonzalez said the speedy outfielder would get more than that.
“He did enough last year that he deserves to get not [just] a look, but an opportunity,” said Gonzalez, adding that Constanza could fit as a backup outfielder if the rest of the five-man bench is outfielder Matt Diaz, corner infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske, catcher David Ross and infielder Jack Wilson.
Constanza made his major league debut at age 27 last season and hit .303 with two homers, 10 RBIs and seven steals in 42 games (109 at-bats).
“He fits,” Gonzalez said. “Constanza fits, even with Diaz, Hinske, Rossy and Wilson. That’s five [backups], eight [starters] and 12 pitchers. So he fits.”