Tommy Hanson is healthy and is scheduled to throw six innings and 80-90 pitches today.
It just won’t come in the Angels’ Cactus League game against the Chicago White Sox. He’ll pitch in a minor-league game instead, as manager Mike Scioscia wanted to ensure that Hanson, the Angels’ projected fifth starter, gets fully stretched out in his second-to-last start of the spring.
“We need to get him into a controlled environment,” Scioscia said. “It’s an important outing to get him into a little more — not only length as far as pitches — but innings. It’s difficult if you’re up to 90 pitches.”
Hanson’s last start, March 20 against the Cleveland Indians, was over after three innings when the right-hander experienced some pain in his right triceps muscle. Angels pitchers have had trouble lasting deep into games in terms of innings; even ace Jered Weaver‘s last outing lasted only two innings and C.J. Wilson‘s 2 ⅔, so maybe the team is a little spooked about the possibility of it happening again to Hansen, who hasn’t gone more than four innings in a start this spring.
The minor-league game offers a safeguard on two fronts. One, by facing lesser hitters, it reduces the risk that Hanson will get knocked out of the game early. Two, in case his triceps injury flares up again, the Angels could backdate Hanson’s time on the disabled list to the maximum nine days before Opening Day. The Angels have two off-days in their first eight days of the season, so they could use that luxury to push back Hanson’s first regular-season start, too.