Hanson reclaimed the roster spot held by outfielder John Rodriguez, who made his second trip to the DL this season. The 29-year-old Rodriguez had been activated on June 1st after missing two weeks. The left-handed hitter has been dogged by shoulder and especially, knee problems this season. Rodriguez is batting just .255 with 22 RBI in 141 at-bats in 2007.
Hanson was not in Saturday's line-up at AutoZone Park, as the solid play by minor league veteran Rico Washington had continued to earn him the starting role at the hot corner. However, everything changed in a moment's notice.
Washington, who was hitting .315/.374/.536 (BA/OBP/SLG) for the Redbirds this season, fouled a ball off his leg while batting in the second inning. Like Rodriguez, Washington has been dealing with a knee problem. The situation was serious enough that Washington could not continue in the game, replaced by the fresh-off-the-DL Hanson in the top of the third.
Hanson, the 2005 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year, has encountered hard times the last two years. He came into the contest hitting .197 on the season with just 11 RBI in 50 games after playing last on May 31.
At that time, the 26-year old had pulled up after running out a grounder because of back spasms. Ironically, when Hanson had gone onto the DL on June 1, he was replaced by Rodriguez. Now the tables have been turned.
Saturday, Hanson went 1-for-3 as he struck out, singled and grounded into a double play in the ninth that helped seal the loss, Memphis' 42nd against 34 wins this season. It was the sixth shutout tossed against the Redbirds in 2007.
After the game, Memphis skipper Chris Maloney would not comment on Washington's condition, which may not be a good sign. We will provide more information as we learn it.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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