Looking for some additional rotation depth with Derek Holland sidelined until midseason, the Rangers are in talks with free agent right-hander Tommy Hanson, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Hanson was once considered among the best young pitchers in the game, but his career has veered off course since a rotator cuff issue in 2011. Traded from the Braves to the Angels last winter, the 27-year-old right-hander posted a 5.42 ERA and 56/30 K/BB ratio in 73 innings over 13 starts and two relief appearances in 2013. He became a free agent after the Angels non-tendered him in December.
Hanson’s agent, Greg Genske, told Morosi on Thursday that his client has received offers from multiple teams and is “in a great place mentally and physically.” In addition to his struggles on the mound last year, Hanson was mourning the loss of his stepbrother.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.