LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tommy Hanson was finally able to pitch without having to worry about his shoulder, concussion tests or the heavy rain that had pelted him when he had made his Grapefruit League debut five days earlier.
As Hanson worked three innings during Friday night's 9-5 win over the Astros, he was still attempting to gain comfort with his altered delivery and find more consistency with both his slider and curveball. But for the first time since his right shoulder became a burden after last year's All-Star break, the Braves pitcher felt somewhat normal.
"It just felt good pitching after five days," Hanson said. "I'm on a normal routine. I feel like I'm working and I'm excited to work. I'm excited for my bullpen days and I'm excited for my next start, because I am working on things and I feel like I'm moving in the right [direction]."
Hanson understandably felt much more comfortable than he had five days earlier, when he was pelted by rain as he pitched in a game for the first time since Aug. 6. His outing began with Jordan Schafer's leadoff double, and was further blemished by Travis Buck's solo home run. But in the process of allowing two earned runs and five hits in three innings, he seemed to find reason for encouragement.
"It was just another day working, and I feel like I'm on my way to getting better," Hanson said. "It's just going to get better from here."
Hanson's shoulder has not been a problem and he has had no setbacks since being cleared to resume normal activities after suffering a concussion in a one-car accident on Feb. 20.
"His arm is good and the stuff with the concussion is good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It was nice to see."