Hanson enjoyed a strong first half of the 2011 season, posting a 10-4 record and 2.44 ERA. He made only five starts after the All-Star break due to persistent pain in the shoulder. A small tear was found in his right rotator cuff that did not require surgery.
He was 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA after the break. He did not pitch after Aug. 6.
Hanson resumed throwing in January.
Before a workout Thursday at Turner Field, Hanson said his outlook for the season continues to rise.
“I definitely feel a lot more optimistic now than a couple months ago or even last month,” he said.
Hanson said he is throwing on his normal off-season schedule and expects that to continue when Braves pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 19.
“I’m on a normal schedule right now and I feel good, so I don’t think that will change,” he said. “I’ll be on a normal schedule.
“My shoulder feels really good. I’ve been off the mound a couple times and it feels really good.”
The 6-foot-6 Hanson walked into the clubhouse with a thick beard and his hair reaching almost to his shoulders.
“I’m going to cut it all off,” he said with a smile. “I don’t think they’ll let me keep it.”
Hanson’s hair was the least of his worries when last season ended. There were concerns the shoulder might require surgery.
“I had no idea last time I talked to you guys what was going to happen or how I was going to feel,” he told reporters. “I’m definitely glad that I feel good now and everything has been going good and I feel like I’m going to be on a normal schedule.”
Hanson is an important part of the rotation. He has won at least 10 games in each of his three seasons and has a career 32-22 record with a 3.28 ERA.
He was on pace for his best season before the shoulder problems.
He said he worked this winter on back exercises designed to help his shoulder.