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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Updated: May 8, 10:16 AM ET
Red Sox put Joel Hanrahan on DL

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- With both of his relievers with closer's experience on the shelf -- Andrew Bailey with biceps inflammation and Joel Hanrahan with a forearm strain -- manager John Farrell said Tuesday the Boston Red Sox will go with right-hander Junichi Tazawa in closing situations for now.

"I think what we'd love to do is close [Junichi] Tazawa," Farrell said on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM on Tuesday. "We'd keep Koji [Uehara] in that eighth-inning role that he's been in. We just got [Craig] Breslow back to us yesterday and before the game we put Bailey on the disabled list who had done a great job in the closing role as well.

"So, fortunately, we do have some depth to turn to internally, and we know that we've got to get through these next couple of days to kinda regroup, because [we had] a couple of extra-inning games. We were in some tight games down in Texas."

Allen Webster was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Hanrahan's roster spot. He will start Wednesday night's game at Fenway against the Twins. Regular starter Felix Doubront will be shifted to the bullpen.

Hanrahan left Monday's game in the middle of the ninth inning with tightness in his forearm, but not before blowing his second save of the season and allowing the Twins to score the tying run. He was added to the DL on Tuesday afternoon, but Farrell said early indications on the injury to Hanrahan, who also missed time earlier this season with a strained hamstring, were positive.

"I think in the long run, we dodged a bullet," Hanrahan said. "It's nothing that needs a knife, so that's always positive."

Hanrahan underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Tuesday, and if he is correct that he does not need surgery, that would suggest the MRI ruled out involvement of the ulnar collateral ligament as a source of his elbow pain. The ulnar collateral ligament is the one that is repaired in Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery.

"I think the biggest thing is anytime a pitcher walks off the mound it's not a good thing. I do know this, in conversations with him on the mound and then after the game, it wasn't like there was a popping sensation," Farrell said. "It's more in the belly of the muscle rather than on the inside or the medial side of the elbow. So those initial signs are on the positive side. But still, you see a guy walk off the mound in the middle of an at-bat, we're hopeful and staying optimistic as we can."

Catcher David Ross was less optimistic in an interview on the same radio program.

"There definitely was concern. Definitely had some ice on it when I went in," Ross said. "You know, I don't like to ask, 'Are you all right?' because obviously he's not all right. I think, you know, that he was just like, man, it just didn't feel right. His forearm was actually really tight. I think it was in the belly of his forearm. It was kind of swollen already so that scares me a little bit for him. I think they are going to wait and see what the doctors say. I'm sure they are going to get him an MRI or some more tests today when some of that swelling gets out of there."

Farrell later told reporters he didn't want to put a timeframe on Hanrahan's return but Hanrahan expects to require a rehab assignment before he returns, which would seem to indiate more than 15 days.

This is Hanrahan's second trip to the DL this season. He missed 15 games with a strained right hamstring.

"I figure I'll be fresh for October; that'll be the thing," he said, trying to inject a little humor into the conversation. "But, yes, it's been a tough go so far."

Tazawa has made 16 appearances this season, tied for second in the AL, and has been scored upon in just three of them. Opposing batters are hitting .216 overall against him, with lefties batting just .188 (6 for 32). He has 18 strikeouts and 3 walks in 14 1/3 innings.

"The one thing he does so well when we brought him into tight spots, he understood the task at hand," Farrell said. "He's able to channel the adrenaline internally the right way. You don't see him outwardly bailing from a challenge or running from contact. He's a believer in his abilities, and we're looking forward to that playing out in the ninth inning."

Farrell could have opted for a more experienced closer in Koji Uehara, who saved 13 games for the Orioles in 2010 and 32 for Japan's Yomuiri Giants in 2007. There were a couple of reasons he offered for why he didn't. One was his preference for avoiding using Uehara in back-to-back games.

The other was that he believes the team is better served with Uehara remaining in the setup role he is currently occupying.

"Koji's done an excellent job in that seventh, eighth inning for us," Farrell said. "With the addition of Craig Breslow in that mix, I feel like we've gotten more options to match up in that bridge to Junichi as a closer, and I like the fact that Junichi's got power to his pitch mix.

"He's been effective against lefties and righties as well. I think the late-inning guys we have here do a very good job of controlling the running game. All things considered, Junichi is the choice."

Lefties are hitting .143 (4-for-28) against Uehara this season.