The Angels optioned Tommy Hanson to Triple-A Salt Lake after losing 2-1 to the New York Yankees on Monday, making room for Jason Vargas to be activated from the disabled list so he can start tomorrow.
Hanson is 4-3 with a 5.59 earned-run average in 13 starts for the Angels. He missed time early in the season while on the bereavement list and nearly a month — from June 20 to July 23 — on the disabled list with a forearm injury.
Last Thursday I asked Angels manager Mike Scioscia what Hanson needed to do to remain in the rotation after Vargas was activated.
“I don’t think we need to target anybody what they need to do, what they don’t need to do,” Scioscia said at the time. “Tommy Hanson in general needs to find the consistency that he showed at times before he was injured. After his first start (after the injury), he had really, really good stuff. He just hasn’t been able to bring that consistency into a game in the last couple.”
In his last three starts, Hanson was 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA — 14 earned runs in 14 ⅔ innings — and lasted no longer than 5 ⅓ innings in those starts.
In choosing to send Hanson to Triple-A, the Angels effectively are choosing to keep 31-year-old right-hander Jerome Williams in the rotation over the 26-year-old Hanson. Williams is 5-8 with a 4.85 ERA this season, including 0-5 with an 8.59 ERA since July.
In a larger sense, Hanson’s demotion serves as another indictment on a disastrous off-season for the Angels. Hanson was acquired in a trade with the Braves for Jordan Walden, who’s been productive in a set-up role in Atlanta. The top names in the Angels’ free-agent haul were Sean Burnett (season-ending surgery), Joe Blanton (demoted to bullpen), Ryan Madson (released), Brendan Harris (released) and Josh Hamilton.
Vargas, who was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners for Kendrys Morales, has been productive when healthy — 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts. He hasn’t pitched since June 17 because of a blood clot near his left armpit.