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Pirates' Craig Hansen Returns After Long Injury Layoff

Pirates reliever Craig Hansen is back after a long, long stay on the disabled list:

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Hansen, a 26-year-old right-hander, has had a long, uncertain recovery from an unusual ailment in which a nerve in his upper back lost the ability to send signals to his trapezius muscle. He was nearly set to return in early June, but elbow pain shut him down.

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Hansen will head to Class A+ Bradenton to begin. He was one of the four players acquired in the Jason Bay trade, and he appeared to be a pretty speculative pickup even at the time - he had fantastic stuff, but big-time control problems. Given his long injury layoff and obvious flaws, he's still probably a long way from contributing at the big-league level.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.