Tommy Hanson

What’s the deal with Tommy Hanson?

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The Braves have enough rotation depth to weather just about any storm, but that doesn’t make Tommy Hanson’s recent failures any less disconcerting.

The 24-year-old ace was shelled for seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Mets. He surrendered eight hits, issued two walks, and watched his ERA climb from 3.20 to 3.60.

And it’s possible that the slide will continue.

Hanson went 9-4 with a 2.60 ERA through the end of June, but he allowed 36 hits and 19 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings during the month of July and his August is off to an even rougher start.

The right-hander spent time on the disabled list earlier this year with shoulder tendinitis and hinted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after Saturday’s game that he’s still being bothered by some discomfort.

“I’ve never made an excuse and I’m not going to,” said Hanson. “I felt good enough to go out there and help my team win the game. They did their part and I didn’t. I just didn’t have very good command. Actually, I had horrible command.”

The Braves hold a comfortable 3 1/2 game lead in the National League Wild Card standings, but the Diamondbacks are charging hard and the Giants could also be in the mix. Feeling “good enough” might not cut it any longer for Hanson. A couple weeks off would put him in far better shape for the September stretch run.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.