3/20/2013 8:20 P.M. ET
Hanson says triceps tightness is nothing serious
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It turns out Tommy Hanson's early exit was nothing but a scare.
A big one, given his recent health issues and overall importance to a rather fragile Angels rotation. But perhaps an unnecessary one, considering how Hanson summed up his level of concern after tightness in his right triceps forced him to leave before the start of Wednesday's fourth inning.
"Zero," he said. "One-hundred percent, I'm fine."
Hanson won't require an MRI, plans to make his next turn and has zero doubt he'll be ready to go for the regular season.
"I felt fine," Hanson said after giving up two runs in three innings against the Indians. "I think they're just taking the cautious route."
The only concerning part is that Hanson threw 45 pitches, 30 less than the Angels had him scheduled for, and only has two spring starts left.
But Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that if Hanson can get to 75 pitches against the White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., on Monday, then 90 against the Dodgers at Angel Stadium on March 30, he should be good to go for the regular season.
As the fifth starter, Hanson is slated to go April 6, but could be pushed back one day because of the April 2 off-day.
"If a guy's working his way up to 90 pitches, he's fine," Scioscia said. "If we can get him to 75 and then 90, he's probably got enough to start the season."
Hanson dealt with shoulder and back issues that forced him to miss the last two months of the 2011 season, then posted a career worst in ERA (4.48), home runs (27), WHIP (1.45) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.27) in 2012.
The 26-year-old right-hander sat for a while between the third and fourth innings, as the Angels hammered out four runs against Indians starter Trevor Bauer. Upon coming out for the fourth, Hanson felt tightness in his right triceps during his first two warmup pitches -- and catcher Chris Iannetta noticed.
"So then he came out and asked me if I'm OK," Hanson described, "and he was like, 'Dude, don't be stupid. We're going to need you this year. If you feel something, you need to say it right now.' I was like, 'Dude, I swear, I feel fine, it's good to go.'"
Hanson threw his next six warmup pitches without any problems, but Scioscia and Angels trainer Adam Nevala came out to check on him. At that point, Hanson knew he was out of the game.
"Even that last [warm-up] pitch, I threw it as hard as I could to test it, and it felt fine," Hanson said. "Once they came out, I knew 100 percent they weren't going to let me back out there, just because it is Spring Training and they want to play it safe."
Hanson gave up a couple of first-inning runs on a two-run double by Michael Brantley, but got through the second and third rather quickly, struck out four batters and put his Cactus League ERA at 8.25 through 12 frames.
He pitched mostly at 88 to 89 mph, occasionally hitting 90 and 91, and said it's "the most comfortable I've felt all spring."
"My emotions and adrenaline were a little bit under control," Hanson added. "Those first few starts, it was a new team, wanted to do good, keeping balls up. Today, I kept my heater down a lot more and just had overall command of my pitches better. I even felt good today with my changeup. It is kind of a bummer I came out after feeling so good, but I guess at this point we'll just take the positives out of it and keep moving forward."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.