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Saturday, May 11, 2013
Joel Hanrahan to undergo surgery

By Tony Lee
Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Joel Hanrahan said Saturday he will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm and will be out six to nine months.

All indications were that Hanrahan would have surgery instead of a lengthy and uncertain rehab after discussing matters with team doctors, but the need for a procedure became more obvious after he visited noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Friday.

"Initially I thought there might be a decision to make [between rehab and surgery] but after talking to [Andrews] he took one look at my arm, touched it, said there really wasn't a decision," Hanrahan said Saturday morning. "The flexor pretty much tore off the bone. There wasn't really a decision, it was just a matter of what kind of surgery it was going to be. As for now it's just the flexor. When he gets in there and takes a look, could be worse, could be better. That's kind of where we're at now."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday that the ulnar collateral ligament in Hanrahan's elbow is not connected to the injury. Therefore, Tommy John surgery is not known to be necessary at this time. However, the full extent of the damage will not be known until Hanrahan is examined more by Andrews, at which point any ligament issues will be addressed.

Hanrahan said the surgery will be next week, in all likelihood. He is hopeful, if no further damage is discovered in the arm, that his rehabilitation would take closer to six months than nine, and he said he fully expects his career to rebound.

"The way I look at it, surgery, the programs that they have now, surgery is kind of like putting a band-aid on something," he said.

But it does not solve any immediate issues surrounding the Red Sox bullpen, which is onto its third closer after Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey (biceps) were sidelined. When asked about the state of the bullpen, Farrell expressed confidence in those who remain, calling the corps "healthy" and "ready to go."

Bailey will continue a throwing program Saturday with long toss. Farrell said he could be back on the mound throwing in simulated games by next week.

As for the 31-year-old Hanrahan, he will finish his one and potentially only season with the Red Sox with an 0-1 record and a 9.82 ERA. He did have four saves but also blew two others and gave up four home runs in 7 1/3 innings.

Hanrahan spent time on the disabled list earlier in the season with a hamstring strain and returned to the DL after exiting a loss to Minnesota on Monday with pain in the arm. He called the season "a wash," and with free agency looming could be finished as a player in Boston.

But Hanrahan has not ruled out a return to Fenway.

"Hopefully I'll get a chance here, maybe, and try to show the fans what kind of pitcher I really am," he said.

The Red Sox traded for Hanrahan in December in a bid to bolster the back end of what was once a deep bullpen. He is due to make just a shade over $7 million this season. The timing of the injury is bad, what with the pending entry into the free agent pool.

Farrell said that Hanrahan's physical well-being is paramount.

"He's 31 years old and yes, free agency is pending, but you have to do what's right for the guy," Farrell said. "That's to make sure he gets all the information needed. You don't want a short-term solution or a quick fix. This is something that's got to be taken care of once and then he has a long and productive career following."

Hanrahan has 100 career saves, 76 of which came in the last two years with Pittsburgh. Hanrahan said Saturday he had felt something in the area of the tendon before, so it was not something that occurred on one pitch.

In the two years since Jonathan Papelbon went to Philadelphia, Red Sox pitchers are 5-11 with a 4.63 ERA in save situations.