The Braves placed Tommy Hanson on the disabled list with a strain in his lower back on Tuesday but don’t believe it’s a serious injury or one that will keep him out longer than 15 days.
They will keep Kris Medlen in the rotation in the meantime. He’ll make his second start Sunday against the Astros.
Hanson said he first started having problems with his back over the All-Star break but after taking a dose pack of anti-inflammatories, it subsided. But it flared up again during the third inning of his start Monday night against the Marlins, and he can’t take another dose pack again so soon.
“I think we might have just came back too quick,” said Hanson, who said by Tuesday it was already feeling better. “I don’t think it’s going to be something that’s going to take a while. I just need to let it chill out and it should be fine.”
The Braves initially thought they would either skip Hanson once in the rotation or give him a few extra days between starts but after acquiring left-hander Paul Maholm via trade from the Cubs on Monday night, they could afford to give Hanson extended rest.
“I think if I would have just had a couple days extra this time it would have been fine,” Hanson said. “But it’s better to take care of it now and then not have to worry about it the rest of the year. I think that’s the whole idea behind it.”
The Braves called up reliever Cory Gearrin from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Hanson’s roster spot.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated after Hanson pitched in and out of jams in his five innings Monday night, while allowing one run, his pitches weren’t as sharp as normal and he might need a few days’ extra rest.
Hanson went 10-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break; he’s 2-0 with a 7.45 ERA in four starts since the break. He said his back didn’t bother him in the first three starts since the break, though, and he’s not blaming the results on his back.
“After I came back from the All-Star break and took that dose pack I felt fine,” Hanson said.
No more deals Tuesday
Braves general manager Frank Wren said he and the Braves were in conversations with multiple teams right up until Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline – he said he was still on the phone at 3:59 – but they did not find the right fit to add another reliever.
“We felt like we were close; we just never quite got there,” Wren said. “Quite honestly, there’re not a lot of guys that were that intriguing that we felt would improve us where we needed to – guys that can pitch in the middle of that bullpen.”
Wren indicated the Braves were looking for a middle reliever with the versatility to go multiple innings, and they had only five names on their board to begin with. He said the Braves will continue to explore their options in August when they could make a waiver trade. But as it is, he still feels pretty good about the Braves bullpen.
“If we get everybody healthy over the next few weeks and if we can get Peter Moylan to the point where he’s ready to join us (on his comeback from shoulder surgery), which we’re very hopeful we can, and we get Tommy Hanson back and then Medlen’s back, we’re in good shape,” Wren said. “Just today we’re a little thin. In another week or so we could be in real good shape.”
Note: The Braves don’t have to make a roster for newcomer Paul Maholm until he arrives on Wednesday. Struggling pitcher Jair Jurrjens could be the odd man out.