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Braves trade Hanson to Angels for reliever

Tommy Hanson, the starter in the Gwinnett Braves' first game in 2009, was once projected to be the ace of the Atlanta rotation for years and years to come.

The right-hander regressed the past few seasons, though, and he was traded to the Angels on Friday to create extra salary space for the Braves to pursue a left fielder and leadoff hitter.

A target is free agent Shane Victorino, who would join recently signed B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward in a fast and impressive outfield.

In exchange for Hanson, the Braves received right-handed reliever Jordan Walden. The 25-year-old saved 32 games for the Angels in 2011 and was named to the All-Star Game, but he lost his closer role last season.

Walden, who has a power arm, adds to an already deep and talented Atlanta bullpen. He made 45 appearances last season and had a 3.46 ERA with 48 strikeouts to 17 walks in 39 innings while spending time on the disabled list.

Hanson, 26, was expected to make about $4 million for 2013 on his first year of arbitration eligibility and the Braves can use some of that money to help fill their need for a leadoff hitter to replace Michael Bourn.

Upton, signed to a five-year deal worth $75.25 million, takes Bourn's place in center field, but will hit in the middle of the batting order after slugging 28 homers for Tampa Bay last season.

The Braves have an opening in left field because Martin Prado is expected to move to third base to replace the retired Chipper Jones.

With Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran ready to fill a spot in the Atlanta rotation, the Braves were free to trade Hanson, who went 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 2012.

The right-hander has had back and shoulder issues, and his velocity dropped over the past few season amid continued concerns about his mechanics.

Hanson was once the Braves' brightest pitching prospect and he jumped from Gwinnett to the Braves rotation two months into the 2009 season.

The 11-4 record and 2.89 ERA that Hanson posted while finishing third in the National League voting for rookie of the year would turn out to be his best work for the Braves. His ERA jumped each season and he leaves with a 45-32 record and 3.61 ERA.

Also departing Atlanta is Jair Jurrjens, once also a promising young piece of the Braves' rotation. He was non-tendered by the Braves before the Friday night deadline for offering contracts to arbitration-eligible players.

Jurrjens, 26, had knee problems after making the All-Star Game in 2011 with the NL's best ERA at the break and spent last season never being able to get back on track.

The native of Curacao spent much of the year with Gwinnett, posting a 6.89 ERA in 11 games for Atlanta while making $5.5 million. He was 50-36 with a 3.58 ERA overall for the Braves after being acquired in a trade from Detroit.

The Braves filled a spot on their 40-man roster and added to their bullpen depth by claiming right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from the Red Sox on Friday. Carpenter, 27, pitched 32 innings for the Astros and Blue Jays this past season and had an ERA of 8.07.