Dr. James Andrews will examine the injured right arm of Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan on Friday. The Sox clearly aren’t expecting good news, given that Hanrahan was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Thursday.
Hanrahan went on the 15-day DL Tuesday with a flexor muscle strain. At the time, the severity of the injury was unclear.
Not anymore. Manager John Farrell acknowledged that it’s only “a possibility” Hanrahan pitches again this season. There is concern that Hanrahan could have a torn ulnar collateral ligament that would require Tommy John surgery.
“We can’t rule it out,” Farrell said. “But yet, I don’t know that there’s information in hand to date that says it’s definite ligament issues. That’s where tomorrow’s exam will be valuable in that area.”
Hanrahan also could have surgery to repair the flexor muscle.
“That’s where he’s got to get his arms around the situation with as much information as possible and make the decision at that point,” Farrell said.
Even if surgery can be avoided, Hanrahan will not be back for at least two months.
“Best case is the conservative treatment,” Farrell said. “That is rest, rehab, recovery, and return to action. That’s the best I can tell you right now.”
Is there any hope that Hanrahan pitches again for the Red Sox this season?
“At this point, yes,” Farrell said. “If everything were to respond favorably to that conservative course of action then, yes, that’s a possibility.”
The Sox are also without backup closer Andrew Bailey, who went on the DL Monday with a sore biceps. Junichi Tazawa now has the job.
“A healthy Joel Hanrahan getting injured is a blow for anyone. A guy that’s been a very successful pitcher, I don’t know that you can just necessarily replace a guy of his abilities and talents,” Farrell said. “But regardless of the injuries that we’re dealing with right now, our expectation and our level of play shouldn’t be compromised by that.”
Hanrahan is the latest high-profile closer to be a bust for the Red Sox.
Bobby Jenks was signed to a two-year, $12 million deal before the 2011 season. He appeared in only 19 games and had a 6.32 earned run average before a series of injuries ended his career.
Bailey was obtained from Oakland before the 2012 season for Josh Reddick and two prospects. He has appeared in only 32 games because of injuries and pitched to a 4.55 ERA.
The Sox traded Mark Melancon, righthander Stolmy Pimentel, and outfielder Jerry Sands to the Pirates for Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt in December.
Melancon has a 0.53 ERA in 17 appearances for Pittsburgh, while Pimentel has a 0.74 ERA in six starts for Double A Altoona. Sands has been a disappointment at Triple A, which also has been the case for Holt.
Hanrahan, who was signed to a one-year, $7.04 million deal, had a 9.82 ERA in nine games before his second trip to the DL.
“I wish I could tell you exactly the reasons certain things have played out the way they have,” Farrell said. “From afar you don’t know everything about a given player. That’s not to suggest guys had an existing injury or anything like that.
“The amount of due diligence that’s done is to answer all those questions. But you can point to a couple of guys that their initial experience [with the Sox] has been mixed results.”
Farrell said it can be more difficult to project how a reliever will perform given the frequency of use.
“You don’t really know firsthand what the wear and tear of 70 to 80 appearances in successive years can be,” he said. “That’s where you’ve got to go to the nth degree to find that out, which we do. I wish I could say there’s a template that would guarantee everything.”
De La Torre arrives
Hanrahan was shifted to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre, who was promoted from Triple A Pawtucket.
The 27-year-old De La Torre appeared in 10 games for Pawtucket, allowing three earned runs on five hits with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts over 17⅓ innings.
De La Torre, who was acquired from the Indians for infielder Brent Lillibridge July 24, is in the majors for the first time.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” De La Torre said. “I’m just really excited being here and happy that I got the opportunity.”
De La Torre put himself on the radar with a good performance in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. He pitched well in six games, striking out 12 and walking one over 5⅔ innings.
“I think I opened some eyes,” De La Torre said. “I think it helped me pitching on a bigger stage and doing what I did.”
De La Torre is a fastball/slider pitcher with occasional control issues to go along with the strikeouts. He has improved his fastball command this season, throwing a two-seamer to both sides of the plate.
“Very good breaking ball that he’s showed since spring training,” Farrell said. “He’s got the ability to get an above-average fastball at times. We’ll pick our spots for him.”
Plouffe does his part
Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe arranged for tickets in the Twins family section and pregame field passes for four officers from the Watertown Police Department.
Plouffe wanted to do something to express his gratitude in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent events in Watertown. He had the Twins and Red Sox help with the arrangements.
Morales to Pawtucket
Lefthander Franklin Morales will continue his rehab assignment Monday with Pawtucket. He is scheduled for three innings. Morales went two scoreless innings for Double A Portland Wednesday and showed good velocity. He is being prepared as a starter. Farrell said Morales would need at least two more rehab appearances before being ready . . . The Red Sox have not decided when lefthander Felix Doubront will start again. It could be Tuesday or, more likely, later next week.