Tommy Hanson could throw first bullpen session Friday

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Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the first week of August due to a fatigued throwing shoulder.

But he is making steady progress and could be ready for the final week or two of the regular season.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the 25-year-old ace felt “really good” after a session of long toss Wednesday and is likely to throw his first bullpen session Friday if he continues to feel no renewed discomfort. A couple of simulated games would follow, then Hanson could be cleared to return to Atlanta’s starting rotation.

Hanson had a fantastic 3.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 142/46 K/BB ratio through 130 innings this year before the shoulder problems put him on the shelf. The Braves, who would appear to have the National League Wild Card locked up, will be hoping for big things from the talented young starter this October.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.