Tommy Hanson pitched two pain-free innings in a simulated game on Monday and moved closer to a possible return to the Atlanta Braves' rotation. After previously throwing bullpen sessions without issue, Hanson took a big step by pitching in his first simulated game at the Braves' Spring Training complex in Florida.
Hanson has been sidelined since August 6 with shoulder tendonitis, but it appears that he is nearing a possible return. He will complete a bullpen session on Wednesday and then throw three or four innings in an instructional league game on Friday. If he remains pain-free, Hanson may start in the regular season finale on Wednesday, September 28 against the Phillies. However, the Braves would only let him start that game provided that they have clinched the Wild Card.
With the Braves' rotation riddled with injuries and ineffectiveness as of late, a healthy Hanson would provide a big lift. If he is able to start the regular season finale and prove himself physically sound and productive, he would be on track to possibly start game three of the National League Division Series.
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