CHICAGO -- With the Braves holding a comfortable lead in the National League Wild Card race and Mike Minor pitching well in his place, Tommy Hanson knows he can comfortably rest his ailing shoulder longer than he did in June. But the 24-year-old pitcher admits the recent inactivity has proven frustrating.
Hanson opted to throw about 10 pitches during a short bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Monday. He plans to return to the bullpen mound Tuesday to throw a longer bullpen session that will truly test his shoulder, and give the Braves a better idea of whether Hanson is ready to make his scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday.
"I just wanted to get off the mound and feel that slope again," Hanson said. "I just wanted to try to get loose today."
If anything could truly be gathered from the short session, Hanson did at least say he felt good. This was the first time he threw off a mound since lasting 3 1/3 innings and allowing seven earned runs against the Mets on Aug. 6. When an MRI exam performed a few days later showed no structural damage, he was diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis for the second time in two months.
Hanson missed just two weeks with the ailment in June, and when he returned from the disabled list to face the Mariners on June 28, he was still feeling tightness. He has posted an 8.10 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .313 against him in five starts since the All-Star break.
Minor will start in Hanson's spot Tuesday, and likely make at least one more start Sunday afternoon against the Mets.
"Everyone has been throwing well, so it's not like there is a big rush for me to get back out there," Hanson said. "Obviously, I want to get back out there as soon as possible. I'm tired of sitting around and I'm itching to get back out there."