"We've always felt that he is a better offensive player than what his numbers show," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He showed flashes of it last year. In Spring Training, he kind of showed a better approach at the plate, too. We're not saying he's all of a sudden going to become Wade Boggs, but we do feel that he can be a better hitter."
Hannahan once again showed his potential on Opening Day on Thursday, launching a home run in Cleveland's 7-4, 16-inning loss to Toronto. Three games into the season, the third baseman also tops the Indians with four RBIs. It might be just one series, but it was a good way for Hannahan to start his season.
"It's great," said Hannahan, who was hitting .250 through three games. "I worked hard in this offseason trying to maintain [my swing] and I came into Spring Training swinging the bat well. It felt good to come in and feel good in the box and put some good swings on the ball."
Last season, the 32-year-old Hannahan hit .250 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 110 games for the Indians overall, but he enjoyed an especially strong finish. After switching to a heavier bat, the third baseman hit .368 over his final 25 games from Aug. 13 through the end of the season.
Hannahan's Opening Day home run was his second in a row in Cleveland's season opener. The third baseman now has three Opening Day blasts in his career.
"Did I hit one last year? That was on Opening Day?" Hannahan said with a laugh. "I don't hit a lot of them, but I'll take any of them."