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Tommy Hanson's road back to Angels could be a dead end

September 06, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson allowed just three runs and three hits through six innings in a Pacific Coast League playoff victory over Las Vegas for Salt Lake, 5-4, on Thursday.
Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson allowed just three runs and three hits through… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Tommy Hanson — remember him? — struggled in four regular-season starts for triple-A Salt Lake after being demoted by the Angels on Aug. 12, going 0-2 with a 5.49 earned-run average, 15 strikeouts and six walks in 19 2/3 innings.

But the 27-year-old right-hander pitched effectively in a Pacific Coast League playoff game Thursday night, allowing three earned runs and three hits in six innings, striking out eight and walking two in Salt Lake’s 5-4 win over Las Vegas.

“He felt good with a lot of things,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Hanson, whose fastball sat in the 90-mph range. “His velocity was a little more consistent, more along the lines of where it needs to be.”

Hanson, who missed five weeks in the first half on baseball’s bereavement and restricted lists, was 4-3 with a 5.59 ERA when he was sent back to the minor leagues for the first time since 2009, when he was with Atlanta. He allowed 14 earned runs and 18 hits in 14 2/3 innings of his last three starts.

Hanson, acquired from the Braves for reliever Jordan Walden last winter, made $3.725 million this season and is eligible for arbitration this winter, but after his choppy and unproductive season, there is a good chance the Angels won’t tender him a contract.

Hanson, one of baseball’s best young pitchers when he came up with Atlanta, showed flashes of his 2010 form July 23, returning from the disabled list because of forearm tightness to allow one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings against Minnesota, striking out eight, walking none and hitting 94 mph.

“We were almost awestruck how good his stuff was when he came off the DL — that one game he pitched was eye-opening,” Scioscia said. “If he maintains that stuff, it will be a career-changer for him. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been that consistent or able to maintain that crispness.”

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