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Hanson closes spring in fine form

Hanson closes spring in fine form

ANAHEIM -- Any concerns regarding Tommy Hanson's stamina heading into the regular season were pretty much put to rest five days ago, when he pitched six innings and threw 88 pitches in an intra-squad game with hardly anyone in the stands.

But Saturday night -- when he pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers in front of a sold-out Angel Stadium in the Spring Training finale -- provided a different test.

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"It's not 15 people in the stands and a bunch of kids I don't know -- it's my teammates," Hanson said. "I want to do well and pitch well, and all the fans and just the atmosphere here, in this stadium -- it's only my second time pitching in this stadium. Yeah, it's totally different."

Hanson is now ready for his starts to matter, and lines up to make his first one in an Angels uniform on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark.

The 26-year-old right-hander showed that by scattering only three hits, walking two and striking out six against one of baseball's best offenses. He had his best curveball this spring, commanded his fastball for most of the night and hardly broke a sweat while throwing 93 pitches.

Coming off a down year with the Braves in 2012, when he posted a 4.48 ERA and gave up a career-high 27 homers, Hanson focused his offseason work more on endurance and strength, rather than rehabilitation.

He's feeling the difference now.

"I just feel stronger this year," Hanson said. "I feel like my endurance is better. I threw 93 pitches and I felt like I could still keep going. I don't really want to go back and talk about last year, but going into this year, I feel great. I feel like this is where I need to be."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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