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Angels' Tommy Hanson looks strong but ends up in a tight spot

The Angels pull Hanson after his triceps tightens up as he's warming up to pitch in the fourth inning. He says it's not serious, but if it persists it could bump him from the rotation.

March 20, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels took no chances with pitcher Tommy Hanson Wednesday, removing the right-hander after three innings of a 6-5 exhibition win over the Cleveland Indians because of tightness in his triceps, an injury Hanson says is not serious.

"I have no concerns, zero; I know 100% that I'm fine," said Hanson, who was slowed by shoulder and lower-back injuries the last two seasons. "They just wanted to take the safe route."

Hanson, acquired from Atlanta for reliever Jordan Walden last winter, gave up two runs and three hits, struck out four and walked one. His fastball was clocked at 89 to 91 mph, and he looked strong, striking out Nick Swisher to end the third.

But after a lengthy bottom of the third, when the Angels scored four runs on four hits, Hanson's arm tightened while he warmed up for the fourth. When Hanson shook the arm to loosen it, catcher Chris Iannetta came to the mound.

"He asked if I was OK, and he was like, 'Dude, don't be stupid, if you feel something you need to say it right now,' " Hanson said. "I was like, 'Dude, I swear, I'm fine.' They could see in the dugout that something was going on."

Hanson, who was targeted for five innings and 75 pitches, was removed after 45 pitches. But he thinks his last two exhibition starts will be enough time to build up to about 90 pitches, which most pitchers need to open the season.

If not, right-handers Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams would be the leading candidates to replace Hanson in the rotation.

"It's a little discouraging he didn't get to his pitch limit," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully, it's nothing that will set him back. If we can get him to 75 pitches, then 90, it's probably enough to start the season."

No problem for Pujols

Albert Pujols is wearing custom orthotics for the first time, and he spends a little extra time in the training room, but those are the only concessions the first baseman has made for the pain in his left foot.

"I've had it for the last seven years; is that a problem?" Pujols said of the condition, plantar fasciitis, which causes inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. "It's one of those things that comes and goes."

Pujols has been eased into action this spring as he recovers from surgery to his right knee — he made his spring debut in the field Tuesday — but Scioscia said the foot is a bigger concern right now.

"I think the reason it flared up is because of my knee," Pujols said. "Trying to protect my knee a little bit, I put pressure on my left side. But it's nothing that's going to keep me from the lineup. I've played whole seasons with it."

Hall pass

Utility player Bill Hall, sidelined for three weeks because of quadriceps and calf injuries, received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his calf on Sunday and was held out for several days.

The Angels are expected to release Hall by Tuesday rather than pay him $100,000 to keep him. But Hall, a leading candidate for a bench spot entering camp, is open to signing another minor league deal to remain in the organization.

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