Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan confirmed that he will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon muscle in his right arm. He’s also not out of the woods for possible Tommy John surgery, either.
Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery. It will be determined then if Hanrahan also needs Tommy John surgery for his ulnar collateral ligament. The recovery time is about 6-9 months for the flexor surgery. Tommy John surgery would mean a year away.
“Initially, I thought there might be a decision to make, then after talking with him (Andrews), he basically walked in, looked at my arm, touched it and said it really wasn’t a decision. I think the flexor pretty much tore right off the bone. So it wasn’t really a decision, it was just a matter of what kind of surgery it was going to be and as of now, it’s going to be the flexor,” Hanrahan said.
“When he gets in there and takes a look, it could be worse, it could be not as bad, but that’s kind of where we’re at right now.”
He added, “On the MRI, he said it looked pretty good. Obviously, nobody wants to just do Tommy John for fun. So he’s going to go in and look and see if that’s something that needs to be done or not, but as of now it doesn’t need to be. But once he gets his eyes on it, he’ll have a better idea.
The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season. The Sox acquired Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt from the Pirates in December for RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Stolmy Pimentel, INF Ivan De Jesus and OF/1B Jerry Sands.
Manager John Farrell said he had a lot of conversations with Hanrahan, but he knew in the end Hanrahan had to make the decision on his own.
“I’ve had many conversations since he walked off the mound. Out of respect to any player, when you’re faced with something like that, they have to walk through it and gather information and come to grips with what’s taken place and and get the information on the procedure and the rehab and all of those answers. It’s a major situation he’s dealing with. He’s gone about it as you would expect.”
Did Hanrahan’s free-agent status after this season have anything to do with his decision to have surgery now?
“In a situation like this you set aside a person’s contract status,” Farrell said. “You try to get the information on how the injury occurred and what’s the best course to take long term. He’s 31 years old, and yes, free agency is pending. You have to do what’s right for the guy and that’s gathering all the information need. In those conversations you don’t want a short-term solution or quick fix. This is something that hopefully can be taken care of once and that he has a long, productive career following.”
Asked about Hanrahan’s mindset, Farrell said, “All things considered, very realistic. He’s come to grips with what’s happened and what’s been recommended, so he’s working through that.”
Hanrahan said he’d felt soreness in the arm before the injury escalated.
“It’s something I dealt with before and it felt pretty good. Sometimes I was a little sore here and there, but I was still able to pitch and throw hard so it wasn’t something that was decreasing my velocity, then the other night against the Twins, I think it progressed that game.”
Hanrahan wasn’t ready to speculate on his future with the Red Sox.
“It’s still pretty new, so we haven’t gotten to that point yet. We’re just kind of trying to figure out the details of when and where and what’s going to happen after that. Hopefully I get another chance here, maybe try to show the fans here what kind of pitcher I really am. This year had kind of been a wash, now it’s definitely a wash. So we’ll see where it takes me from there.”