In order to alleviate stress on his shoulder and keep base stealers a little more honest, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson has altered his pitching delivery this offseason, reports mlb.com.
Braves minor league physical therapist Troy Jones initially suggested the change to Hanson when rehabbing Hanson's worn and torn shoulder. Though hesitant, Hanson eventually got around to talking to Roger McDowell about making the change in January.
Hanson has now eliminated the brief pause in his delivery – where it basically looked like he was giving center field an extended view of the ball – which he says allows him to utilize his lower half and rid his motion of the snap forward.
"I'm really just cutting out that pause," Hanson said. "I felt like I was throwing with all arm. Also, by changing, I could kill two birds with one stone as far as cutting down the running game. Somebody gets on and they have just run all day. I think it's going to help both."
Hanson has had discomfort in his throwing shoulder since 2010 and missed nearly all of the final two months of the 2011 season. It was finally when strengthening his back muscles at the Braves' Spring Training complex that Jones made the suggestion to change Hanson's motion.
At the very least, the change will help Hanson cut down on his stolen bases. He has given up 81 during his career, and no one in the big leagues has given up more since his debut on June 7, 2009. In the past two seasons, opponents have successfully stolen in 90 percent of their attempts, fourth worst in the majors.
"The biggest thing this will do is make him quicker to the plate and help him hold runners," Fredi Gonzalez said. "Instead of 1.8 [seconds] or 1.9 to the plate, they're going to have to respect him a little bit."
Hanson has been getting more comfortable with his motion and does not see much difference in his pitch movement.
"It's not like I'm changing my arm slot or anything like that," Hanson said. "I'm just separating my hands later. That way, my arm doesn't get up too soon and then you have that pause. My legs and the timing aspect are what I need to get the most comfortable with, because it is a little different in terms of how the timing goes."