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Hanson shakes off rust, feels good in debut

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tommy Hanson threw strikes on Tuesday, just not the kind of strikes he wanted. Hanson, making his first start for the Angels, was up in the strike zone with his fastball for most of his two-inning outing, but he said he was generally pleased with the way he performed.

"That first day is never going to go the way you planned," he said. "I just wanted to get out there, get comfortable being on the mound and facing live hitters. That's the first time I've faced live hitters since last season. It's a little different when you get a hitter in there. My adrenaline was up and all that."

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Hanson, acquired from Atlanta in the offseason, needed just eight pitches to get through the first inning against the Reds and 15 more to get through the second. Perhaps most importantly, Hanson said that he felt 100 percent on the mound and stronger than he did at this point of Spring Training last season.

The right-hander threw first-pitch strikes to six of the nine batters he faced, and he only fell behind 2-0 to one batter in his brief outing. That one batter -- Jay Bruce -- turned on a fastball and crushed it over the fence in left-center field for the only run scored against Hanson.

"I think everyone in the stadium knew a fastball was coming right there. And it was up," said Hanson of the home run. "He put a good swing on it. He's a good hitter. Strong dude. He hit it out."

Hanson hit 90 mph on the radar gun on Tuesday, but he declined to comment on his velocity after his start. He did say that he only threw five breaking balls all day and that he wants to work on improving his fastball command in his next outing. Again, cautioned Hanson, it was only his first start.

And on this day, he didn't even have to deal with his greatest challenge. Hanson, as a first-year player in the American League, will have to face a whole host of new hitters this season. It's never too early to start learning, said Hanson, and he'll rely on tips from veteran teammates, like Jered Weaver.

"I've already been in the video room trying to look at some hitters and trying to see what they're doing at the plate in certain situations," he said. "I think once the season starts and being able to talk to the guys -- like Weaver -- who have faced them is going to help. I'm just trying to get a quick look now."

The Angels got their own quick look at Hanson on Tuesday, and manager Mike Scioscia echoed many of the same comments that the 26-year-old said in the aftermath of his outing.

"I thought Tommy was strong," said Scioscia. "The pitches were up a little bit, but I thought the stuff was good. He threw some good sliders. The fastball was elevated a little bit, but he looked strong."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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