PHILADELPHIA -- Encouraged by the way his right shoulder reacted after his latest round of long toss on Wednesday, Tommy Hanson believes he could be ready to complete a light bullpen session this weekend.
"I know the [Braves] want to play it a little bit on the safer side, but I don't see a problem, with how I felt today, throwing a side on Friday," Hanson said.
Hanson has made steady strides since gaining some peace of mind last week, when Dr. James Andrews told him that the discomfort in his right shoulder is a product of normal wear and tear.
The 25-year-old right-hander's confidence was strengthened on Monday, when he completed a pain-free round of long toss.
On Wednesday, Hanson went through his delivery and threw each of his pitches on flat ground. The next test will be how his shoulder reacts while throwing off the mound.
"I think the bullpen day is going to be big," he said. "I don't know. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think I'm ready to get off the mound to throw all my pitches again and feel the slope of the mound."
After spending two weeks on the disabled list in June, Hanson made three strong starts while continuing to pitch with some tightness in the shoulder. During his current DL stint, it became apparent that he needed more than two weeks of rest.
Hanson is well aware that time is running out for him to get ready in time for the postseason, but he understands the importance of making sure his shoulder is healthy and strong enough to resume pitching in games.
"I just don't want to force anything," he said.