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.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.