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.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.