Hanson slated for Triple-A rehab start Sunday
Righty likely to rejoin Braves' rotation by end of next week
NEW YORK -- Tommy Hanson was thrilled after completing a bullpen session on Friday afternoon. But the Braves pitcher was not exactly pleased on Saturday when he learned he will need to make one rehab start before rejoining Atlanta's rotation toward the end of next week.
Hanson will attempt to complete four to five innings while throwing approximately 80 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday afternoon. This would put him in line to start against the Dodgers on Friday, which is just two days after he becomes eligible to be activated from the disabled list.
Hanson has not recently experienced the lower back discomfort that led the Braves to place him on the disabled list on July 31. His hope was to be activated without making a rehab appearance. But the team determined it would be best for him to slowly make his way back with this one rehab start.
"He wants to get back in there and I don't blame him," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That's why he was grumpy."
After being told about the rehab assignment, Hanson told reporters, "I'm not in a good mood." But a short time earlier, he was excited about how he had thrown during Friday's bullpen session.
"It might have been my best one of the year," Hanson said. "I was actually hitting spots. I surprised myself."
Hanson has posted a 7.43 ERA and allowed opponents to compile a .453 on-base percentage in the four starts he has made since the All-Star break.
When Hanson rejoins the rotation, the Braves will have to determine whether to bump one of their starters or possibly go with a six-man rotation until they complete a stretch of playing 20 straight 20 days on Aug. 29.
While Gonzalez has not completely nixed the possibility of using the six-man rotation, it does not sound likely. If the Braves stick with a five-man rotation, Kris Medlen would likely return to the bullpen.
"It's not as easy as people think, because you've got to either a position player or a bullpen guy short," Gonzalez said. "As soon as you do that, it never fails."
After three days of rest, McCann back in lineup
NEW YORK -- Brian McCann returned to the Braves' lineup on Saturday after having rested for three full days after receiving a cortisone injection. Now the Braves catcher will approach the season's final months with the hope that his right shoulder does not continue to be too bothersome.
McCann has spent the past couple of months dealing with what the Braves have termed a right shoulder subluxation. He played through the pain for a few months and then gradually felt the discomfort increase when he was swinging the bat over the past couple of weeks. "It got worse 2 1/2 to three weeks ago," McCann said. "It got to the point to where I was feeling it a lot."
Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury missed two months after being diagnosed with a right shoulder subluxation. McCann's condition does not appear to be as serious, and the Braves are hopeful that the anti-inflammatory effects of the cortisone shot will provide some relief.
McCann is not bothered by the discomfort when he is throwing. He has not gained any indication that he will need to undergo surgery this winter.
Catching prospect Bethancourt breaks hand
NEW YORK -- Christian Bethancourt, the Braves' top catching prospect, broke his left hand when he was hit with a pitch while batting in the 13th inning of Double-A Mississippi's game against Birmingham on Thursday night.
Bethancourt is in a cast and will be evaluated next week by Braves' hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie. The Braves are hoping that Bethancourt will recover in time to play somewhere this winter.
Bethancourt is ranked by MLB.com as the game's fourth-best catching prospect. The athletic 20-year-old catcher possesses a strong arm that has caught the attention of many, including Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who won four Gold Glove Awards as a Major League catcher.
Offensively, Bethancourt still has some room for development. He's batted .243 with two home runs and a .566 OPS in 71 games with Mississippi this year.
Major League Baseball executive vice president of operations Joe Torre took a hit and RBI away from Dan Uggla after reviewing the high popup that Uggla hit to short left field during the Aug. 3 win over the Astros. Torre overturned the official scorer, who had given Uggla a double and an RBI after Houston shortstop Marwin Gonzalez lost the ball in the sunset.
Jair Jurrjens allowed two runs (one earned) and four hits in six innings for Triple-A Gwinnett against Louisville on Friday night. This was his first rehab start since Atlanta placed him on the disabled list with a groin strain earlier this month.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.