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Depth remains key for Rangers' rotation

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was among the club officials who watched Tommy Hanson throw live batting practice Thursday. The Rangers have reason to be attentive to Hanson's progress.

With Matt Harrison experiencing stiffness in his lower back, the Rangers need all the starting pitching depth they can get. Hanson was signed just before Spring Training for that reason, and he had his own problems last season with the Angels, missing almost a month with a strained right forearm.

But he has made some adjustments in his delivery, and so far everything has gone well for him this spring. He threw five minutes in the bullpen and 10 more during live batting practice Thursday.

"It went good," Hanson said. "My off-speed stuff was good. My fastball started out high but I got it down in the end. I made a good adjustment; that's always important. I feel like everything is smooth."

The Rangers should find out early next week what's going on with Harrison and how long he will be sidelined. If he is out for an extended period, it leaves the Rangers with Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando in the rotation and two spots open. The Rangers are looking at Hanson, Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch and Robbie Ross as the primary candidates.

"It's all about options and we have plenty of those," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You look at it as being a moment where somebody has an opportunity to show what they can do."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
Read More: Texas Rangers, Robbie Ross, Matt Harrison, Tommy Hanson, Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch