Hanson back in bigs, but future uncertain

Hanson back in bigs, but future uncertain

OAKLAND -- Tommy Hanson will spend the next two weeks with the Angels. Beyond that, it gets very uncertain for the 27-year-old right-hander, the once-promising young starter who could very well get non-tendered in December.

"I'm not worried about that right now," said Hanson, slated to make roughly $4.5 million as a second-year arbitration-eligible player. "All I can control is what I do today. That's where my head's at. Obviously, not the funnest season, but I want to finish strong and just keep working to try to do better. That's all I can do right now."

With the Minor League playoffs now over, the Angels finally made their September callups on Monday, with Hanson joining right-handed starter Matt Shoemaker, right-handed reliever Robert Coello, infielder Tommy Field and left-handed-hitting first baseman Efren Navarro.

Hanson has had a rough season since being acquired from the Braves for reliever Jordan Walden in November. His step-brother died suddenly in April, prompting him to spend a week on the bereavement list and then another 18 days on the restricted list. He strained his forearm in late June, forcing him to be sidelined for more than three weeks. Throughout, he struggled with his command, velocity and ability to hold runners.

On Aug. 7, Hanson had a 5.59 ERA in 13 starts and was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake.

"It has been frustrating, the ups and downs," Hanson said. "But, that's the way it is sometimes. You have to deal with it. Sometimes, you have to roll with the punches and keep working."

Hanson was hit and miss in the Pacific Coast League, ultimately posting a 4.50 ERA in six starts. During that time, he's been working on "simplifying" his delivery. And over his last two outings, both in the playoffs, Hanson found some success, combining to give up four runs in 12 1/3 innings.

But Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't sound like a guy who will go out of his way to give Hanson another start in the big leagues. The Angels' skipper left open the possibility, but also said that he has "five guys in our rotation pitching well right now and I know they want to finish on a good note."

Scioscia is still searching for the Hanson who showed up on July 23, right after the DL stint, when he threw his fastball in the mid-90s, featured a sharp breaking ball and, for one 5 1/3-inning start, resembled the pitcher of 2011 -- the one who had established himself as one of the best young arms in the National League.

"The one game he came back off the DL, his stuff was eye-opening, and he hasn't repeated that," Scioscia said. "So, to say he's fixed everything, no, because if he fixed everything, you're going to see a Tommy Hanson much more in line with the way he threw that one game and much more in line with when he first came up to the Major Leagues. There's some things he's gotten better at, there's some things he's gotten more consistent at, but his last couple starts he had with us and the starts he had in Triple-A were not where he was that one outing. There's still more room for improvement."

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.