MIAMI -- Tommy Hanson took another positive step on Monday when he completed two pain-free innings during a simulated game at the Braves' Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Hanson told the Braves that he had no problems with his previously ailing right shoulder. After throwing a bullpen session on Wednesday, he will complete three or four innings in an instructional league game on Friday.
If Hanson passes Friday's test and the Braves have already clinched the National League Wild Card spot, he could start against the Phillies in the regular-season finale on Sept. 28. That would put the 25-year-old right-hander on schedule to potentially start Game 3 of the NL Division Series.
Hanson has not pitched in a Major League game since Aug. 6, but his shoulder has been cooperative over the past couple of weeks, and with their rotation beset by injuries and ineffectiveness, the Braves have to at least try to get Hanson ready to pitch in the playoffs.
The Braves have gone through the second half without gaining much value from Hanson or Jair Jurrjens, a pair that stood as two of the NL's top pitchers before the All-Star break.
Though Jurrjens is out for the Division Series and questionable at best for the NL Championship Series, he did gain some encouragement on Monday when he threw off a mound for the first time since his Aug. 30 start. The 25-year-old right-hander felt good while wearing a brace to stabilize his right knee, which has bothered him over the past two months.
"It just let me know that I need to keep working and gain strength," Jurrjens said. "I felt fine. I think that was the hardest I've thrown since Spring Training."
Fatigue works in Venters' favor
MIAMI -- Given that Jonny Venters entered Monday's series against the Marlins with five more appearances than any other Major League reliever, it's not as though manager Fredi Gonzalez has forgotten about his prized reliever.
But while making an effort to rest Venters a little more frequently over the past few weeks, Gonzalez has seen the lefty prove that like many other sinkerballers, he is more effective when his arm feels a little fatigued.
"He's a sinkerballer, and those guys rely on feel," Gonzalez said. "The less rested they are, the better feel they get.
"It seems like every time we give him too much [rest], he has a blip. That's something [pitching coach Roger McDowell] and I have talked about. Roger was the same way, a sinkerball guy."
Venters' most recent struggles came on Sunday, when he issued three walks and allowed two hits in a two-run eighth inning that gave the Mets a lead they would not relinquish. It was the second time he has allowed two hits and two runs in a game since the All-Star break. In both instances, he was pitching with three days of rest.
That said, the Braves needed to give Venters some of the additional rest he has received. Venters entered the All-Star break on pace to make 90 appearances, exited July on pace for 88, entered September on pace for 86 and is now on pace for 85. The 26-year-old has made a Major League-high 160 appearances since the start of 2009.
As the Braves move closer toward a potential playoff run, Gonzalez might start using Venters more frequently, possibly allowing him to face just one batter to keep a feel for his sinker. But until his club clinches a postseason berth, he will simply base his decisions on that day's game.
Glavine, Murphy to be Fantasy Camp instructors
MIAMI -- Tom Glavine and Dale Murphy have agreed to participate in this year's Braves Fantasy Camp, which will be held Jan. 24-29 at the club's Spring Training facility in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Murphy and Glavine will both serve as an instructor for one day.
The Fantasy Camp gives fans a chance to live like a Major Leaguer and interact with some of the favorite players. Other Braves alumni scheduled to attend are Javy Lopez, Steve Avery, Sid Bream, Otis Nixon, Marquis Grissom, Greg Olson, Greg McMichael and Pete Smith.
Participants will receive daily training and have the opportunity to don uniforms while preparing for each day in the same clubhouse the Braves use for Spring Training. Breakfast and lunch are provided on a daily basis; accommodations are at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.