Thursday, February 20, 2014
Washington's words fire up Tommy Hanson
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tommy Hanson is adjusting to life in a new clubhouse, and that means getting to know a new manager, too. It didn't take him long to see why so many players say they love playing for Ron Washington.
"It was the best clubhouse speech I've heard," Hanson said about Washington's chat with his team prior to full squad workouts Thursday. "It pumped me up. I was ready to go play somebody right now."
Hanson, 28, signed with the Rangers just before spring training, agreeing to a two-way contract that could pay him $2 million in base salary if he makes the opening day roster. Hanson struggled last year on and off the mound. He lost some velocity on his fastball, which impacted his ability to get batters out consistently. He also dealt with the death of his stepbrother.
Hanson said Thursday that he feels good and is pleased by how his first few live batting practice sessions have gone as he ramps up for Cactus League play at the end of the month.
"I'm still getting to know everybody, and I only knew a couple of guys before I got here," Hanson said. "But it's a baseball clubhouse and I've been in quite a few of the them. It's pretty easy to get along with these guys. Everyone's a good dude and we're all here for the same reason. It's a bunch of good guys, and I'm still getting to know them."
Hanson is one of a host of pitchers hoping to win a job in the starting rotation. He comes in, though, as one of those with the most experience and hoping he can show the form that made him and up-and-coming young arm a few years ago.