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Hanson versus O's, Hochevar versus D-backs

Updated: June 17, 2009, 2:33 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | Special to ESPN Insider

Initial pitch vexes Hanson in his rough ML debuts

Top prospect Tommy Hanson has had a less-than-sparkling introduction to the big leagues. Although his ERA improved in his most recent start against Baltimore, he still allowed 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Curiously, five of the 15 hits he's allowed this season have come in the first pitch of the at-bat. Hitters are jumping at his opening fastball, and you have to wonder how that will affect his mentality and pitching strategy going forward. The Reds, his next opponent, are a below-average first-pitch-hitting team, so he's not walking directly into a trap on Thursday night. If this problem persists in the next few starts, owners should be concerned, but at this point he's a safe play.

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