Hanson (concussion) confident he’ll be ready for season

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Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson has been sidelined since Monday morning due to a mild (Grade 1) concussion that he suffered after blowing a tire and banging his head in a one-car accident.

But the 25-year-old is confident he’ll be able to play catch-up once he is cleared to return to action.

Here’s Hanson discussing his condition Saturday with a group of reporters, including beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“It’ll only be a week off,” said Hanson. “I was throwing 50-pitch bullpens before I came down here [to spring training], so I don’t’ think a week off is going to set me back too much. After I start throwing for a couple of days, I think I’ll be back where I would have been last week. Most of the time at the end of spring training, that last week is kind of extra anyways. So I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I feel like I’ll be ready.”

Hanson registered a stellar 3.60 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 22 starts last season, fanning 142 batters and walking only 46 across 130 innings. He missed a large chunk of the second half due to shoulder issues.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.