Hanson makes statement with four strong innings

Hanson makes statement with four strong innings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tommy Hanson advanced his rotation candidacy by allowing just one run over four innings for the Rangers against the White Sox on Tuesday. He also showed why he could be an asset as a long reliever.

Hanson did not start the game. Instead, he entered in the fourth inning and allowed one run on two hits, a walk and two strikeouts. His biggest transgression was a walk to start the fourth that ended up scoring.

"He really maneuvered the baseball," manager Ron Washington said. "He changed speeds, he had a curveball working and his fastball was down. The more he gets the baseball, the better feel he'll have for what he is trying to do."

Hanson is one of eight candidates for two spots in the Rangers' rotation. They want two starters to emerge but they also will need a long man in the bullpen. If Colby Lewis and Joe Saunders win the two spots in the rotation, Hanson could fill the long-man role.

"With all these starters, somebody will emerge," Washington said. "It's very important, we've got to find somebody down there who can go long."

Hanson followed Saunders, who allowed four runs in three innings while dealing with a blister on the outside of his left foot. Saunders gave up two runs in the first, struck out the side in the second and allowed two more runs in the third. An error by third baseman Adrian Beltre extended the third inning and one of the runs was unearned.

"I kind of felt [the blister] after the first inning but pitched through it," Saunders said. "I had to get my pitches in. It was no big deal. It hurt, but you have to pitch through it."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.