No matter what the Texas Rangers think of how right-hander Tommy Hanson pitched Saturday in what was his final audition for the starting rotation, they have to admire his honesty.
Hanson knows he picked a terrible time to have a lousy outing, which he did in the Rangers’ 8-4 loss to Kansas City. The Royals tagged him for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings and put a large dent in his rotation hopes.
“It’s never a good time to go out there and have that performance,” Hanson said. “Spring is coming to an end, and obviously I wish I’d thrown better and have had more balls down. But I didn’t.”
The Royals took advantage of two walks to score five two-out runs in the second inning. Alcides Escobar provided the big blow, a three-run double over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin.
Justin Maxwell clubbed a two-run shot in the fifth.
But manager Ron Washington thought Hanson pitched better than his final line indicated and he remains under consideration for one of the final two rotation spots, along with fellow right-hander Colby Lewis and lefties Robbie Ross and Joe Saunders.
Hanson could also land a spot as the long man in the bullpen, but he has received no word from club officials about his future.
“I haven’t had any discussions about anything,” said Hanson, who signed a non-guaranteed major league contract a week before camp opened. “When we have that conversation, that [a bullpen role] will be something to talk about. But I’m not going to worry about that now.”
Michael Choice hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, giving him three this spring along with 10 RBIs. Catcher J.P. Arencibia, fighting for roster spot, went 2 for 3 with a double that clanged off the top of the right-field wall.
The clubs played a bottom of the ninth inning, even though the home-team Royals had recorded 27 outs, to give Alexi Ogando an inning of work. Sent to the bullpen earlier in the day, Ogando pitched around a two-out double for a scoreless frame.