Last season was a tough one for Tommy Hanson. He struggled on the field, trying to regain the form that made him one of the top young prospects in the game just a few years ago. But he also dealt with difficulty off the field. His stepbrother died last season, and he needed time for himself and his family to grieve.
"Mentally, I don't think I was where I needed to be last year," Hanson said in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon. "It wasn't only me. My whole family was dealing with it. It's hard to see your family struggle. It's difficult [and] something I don't really like to talk about. I feel like I'm in a lot better place now than I was last year."
Hanson said he had a few offers, but after talking things over with his family and agent, he decided the Rangers made the most sense. Opportunity helps. He has a chance to make a rotation that has an open spot, what with Derek Holland unlikely to be back until around midseason.
So how does Hanson feel physically?
"I feel great," he said. "I've been throwing for the last two months and have thrown quite a few bullpens. Everything feels great. I'm excited to get there and start facing some hitters."
Hanson's fastball velocity dropped below 90 mph the past two seasons and he struggled to find his consistency. But he'll get a chance in spring training to see if he can find his form again and give the Rangers another arm in the rotation.