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Tommy Hanson: “I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother”

May 29, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Getty Images

Last month Tommy Hanson took a bereavement leave from the Angels following the death of his stepbrother, returning to the team after six days away. He made two starts, pitching relatively well, but then decided he wasn’t fully ready to return, leaving the team again for what proved to be another three weeks.

Hanson is back with the Angels now and expected to start Friday against the Astros. And the right-hander opened up to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times about what he went through since his 26-year-old stepbrother’s death:

I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother. I was just trying to get through it. I didn’t know how to handle it. That was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me. I didn’t know how to cope with it. … Physically, I feel great. I’m in great shape. I just had to deal with the issues going on in my head.

MLB instituting bereavement leave a few years back was a good idea, but players regularly being placed on the bereavement list can make it easy to forget that they’re simply guys who just lost someone close to them and in many cases aren’t prepared to return to work after 3-7 days. Kudos to the Angels for giving Hanson all the time he needed away from the team and here’s hoping he’s found some peace in the month since his stepbrother’s death.

  1. 13arod - May 29, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    feel sorry for him

  2. onbucky96 - May 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Damn. Thoughts n prayers Tommy.

  3. thebadguyswon - May 29, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    That’s awful. Really puts sports in the proper perspective.

  4. multiplemiggs - May 30, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    sorry dude

  5. Walk - May 30, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    This is the first I had heard of this, I knew he took a bereavement leave but not why. I lost my brother when I was 24, he was 3 years younger. I was in korea at the time stationed at camp Humphries. It has been nearly 15 years and I am still saddened that my brother passed on before me. My condolences to the family, they will be in my prayers.

  6. garyhd01 - May 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    like a few of the commenters I lost my brother in 1993 while I was able to deal with it my mother had problems so every year on that day I would send her a live plant so she wouldn’t have to watch flowers die like her son did, finally after about 10 years she said please stop I have no room for more plants her and I will never forget will hope the best for tommy come Friday

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