April 29, 2014
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Editor’s Note:The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa pitcher Andrew Hanse is living out a childhood dream as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
“Everyone’s dream is to play professionally, and I am lucky enough to get this opportunity,” said Hanse, a native of Marion, Iowa , and a 2013 UI graduate. “I owe thanks to everyone from my junior college days and those at Iowa.”
Hanse played two seasons as a Hawkeye, pitching in 2012 and 2013. After going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in his first season following a two-year stint at Ellsworth Community College, Hanse went 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 16 appearances (seven starts) as a senior.
“My junior year at Iowa, my coaches pushed me to get a lot better and into better shape,” said Hanse. “That helped me to get drafted.”
Hanse was selected in the 22nd round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He was the 668th pick.
“I didn’t know where I was going to end up,” said Hanse of the MLB Draft. “I was in contact with some scouts and they’d call or text me every once in a while. I got a random call on that Saturday (of the draft) and I knew I was drafted. It was an awesome experience.”
Hanse began his professional career with the Hudson Valley Renegades in the New York-Penn League, where he went 2-2 with a 4.80 ERA in 12 appearances. After being promoted to the Midwest League’s Bowling Green Hot Rods, he closed out the 2013 season with a 1-0 record in 10 games, sporting a 0.49 ERA.
The right-hander is back for his second stint with the Hot Rods this season, where he is 0-2 where he is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five games. After getting roughed up in consecutive outings at Burlington and against Kane County, Hanse has allowed one unearned run over his last six innings (three appearances).
“The great thing about minor league baseball is you get to play every day,” said Hanse. “You are able to forget (the bad ones) and go out the next day and compete.”
Playing every day has been the biggest adjustment for Hanse, but constantly being at the ballpark has allowed him to continue working on refining his pitching.
“I am focusing on getting better each and every day,” he said. “I am working on developing my off-speed pitches and trying to be more consistent.”
Even with the long bus trips in the Midwest League with teams ranging from Kentucky to Wisconsin and Iowa to Ohio, Hanse is relishing his opportunity in minor league baseball.
“This has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “The bus rides are long in the Midwest League, but we have a really nice bus, so they’re not too long at all.”