Tommy Hanson spent six days away from the Angels — long enough, he thought, to mourn the death of his stepbrother. In his second start after rejoining the team, catcher Chris Iannetta called time out and walked to the mound.
“Are you all right?” Iannetta asked Hanson.
Iannetta was not the only teammate to wonder.
“Everyone said I looked like a zombie,” Hanson said.
The Angels were about to fly to Houston. They called him in for a private meeting and told him to stay home, and to take all the time he needed to get well.
“I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother,” said Hanson, 26, two years older than his deceased brother. “I was just trying to get through it. I didn’t know how to handle it.
“That was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me. I didn’t know how to cope with it.”
Hanson returned to the Angels’ clubhouse — and to a fair number of hugs — on Tuesday, after three weeks away from the team. He said he spent time in California, with his father and stepmother, working out at UC Irvine and Soka University, until reporting to the Angels’ Arizona training complex last week.
“Physically, I feel great,” he said. “I’m in great shape. I just had to deal with the issues going on in my head.”
Hanson wouldn’t discuss the specifics of how he dealt with those issues.
He said he expects to start Friday but said the final word would come from Angels Manager Mike Scioscia. Jerome Williams, whose turn in the rotation comes up Friday, said before the game that he had not been told of any change in his status.
Scioscia declined to say when Hanson would start but said Joe Blanton would remain in the rotation. Blanton took the loss Tuesday, giving up three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He is 1-8 with a 5.98 earned-run average, and has given up the most hits and taken the most losses of any pitcher in the American League.
“Joe is hopefully turning the corner on his rough start,” Scioscia said. “He’s pitched a strong start for us the last couple outings. We’re going to need him as we move forward.”
Scioscia said after the game that Williams could help in the bullpen for the “next couple days” but would get one more start. It is unlikely the Angels would use a six-man rotation for more than one turn.
“Whatever role settles for Jerome, it will be an important one,” Scioscia said.
Williams has delivered four consecutive quality starts since rejoining the rotation. He is 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in five starts, with a 1.69 ERA in eight relief appearances.
In order to clear a roster spot to reinstate Hanson, the Angels put left-hander Sean Burnett on the disabled list because of a sore left elbow. Burnett, who previously missed 22 games because of irritation in his left arm, said X-rays were negative and doctors injected him with a lubricant in the hope of fighting inflammation.
“I’m kind of like the Tin Man,” Burnett said. “I was a little squeaky, so they lubed me up.”
Outfielder Josh Hamilton was scratched from the lineup after reporting back stiffness during batting practice. Scioscia said he would be evaluated Wednesday. … The Angels plan to activate Jered Weaver on Wednesday.