Tommy Hanson to miss Friday start, but avoid disabled list

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Tommy Hanson’s struggles since the All-Star break and diminished velocity have convinced the Braves to scratch him from Friday’s scheduled start, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he’ll avoid the disabled list for now.

Hanson declined to discuss whether he’s been pitching through any arm problems while posting an 8.10 ERA since the All-Star break, but there’s been speculation about his shoulder hurting.

Hanson had a 2.89 ERA in 2009, a 3.33 ERA in 2010, and a 2.44 ERA through the All-Star break this year, but in five second-half starts he’s coughed up 24 runs in 27 innings while allowing opponents to hit .313 with a .970 OPS.

Because the Braves have an off day Thursday they can skip Hanson’s turn in the rotation and use Mike Minor on regular rest without changing anyone else’s schedule. And in the meantime Braves fans will hope a week off is enough to cure the 24-year-old ace.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.