Red Sox reliever Joel Hanrahan was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list on Thursday, and the reliever is currently trying to determine whether he will require surgery for the right forearm strain.
The decision to move Hanrahan to the 60-day DL was made in order to free a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Jose De La Torre, who was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. In addition, right-hander Allen Webster was optioned to Pawtucket after Wednesday night’s game.
Hanrahan, who has struggled at times over the course of his first month, with Boston, is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA and four saves in nine appearances. According to a source, there is no decision yet on whether or not Hanrahan will undergo surgery — he is visiting Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion — but he is expected to be sidelined for a couple of months at a minimum, even if there is no surgery needed.
“Once we got the initial MRI, it seemed [the 60-day DL] was a possibility,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “So not knowing the extent or total number of days, we felt it was still going to require some recovery time and then when you factor in the buildup back from that, we felt this was going to be a couple of months total at a minimum.”
When Hanrahan landed on the DL on Tuesday, Farrell said that the issue was in a flexor mass strain in his right forearm, rather than the ulnar collateral ligament (better known as the Tommy John ligament) of the elbow. On Thursday, the manager said that while no ligament damage had been diagnosed, it also hadn’t been ruled out. Farrell confirmed that the player and team are working to make a determination about whether surgery is the proper course of action, or if Hanrahan can return through rest and rehab.
“[Surgery] has been part of the discussion,” said Farrell. “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.
“Best case is the conservative treatment and that is rest, rehab, recovery and return to action. Fact is he’s going for a second opinion, I don’t know if he’s at that point [where a conservative course is certain to be followed] yet. That’s where we’re at. That’s the best I can tell you right now,” added Farrell. “At this point, [he could pitch again this year]. If everything were to respond favorably to that conservative course of action, yes, that’s a possibility.”
Farrell characterized Hanrahan’s prolonged absence as a challenge. Still, he suggested that it did not represent an insurmountable obstacle to success.
“A healthy Joel Hanrahan getting injured is a blow for anyone — a guy that’s been a very successful pitcher and, I don’t know that you can just necessarily replace a guy of his abilities and talents,” said Farrell. “But regardless of the injuries that we’re dealing with right now, our expectations and our level of play shouldn’t be compromised by that. That’s the expectation here is to go out every night, to prepare, and to put a game together to win.”
For De La Torre, this is his first major league stint. The 27-year-old has appeared in 10 games for Pawtucket this season, all in relief, going 1-0 with one save, a 1.56 ERA (3 ER/17.1 IP), and 17 strikeouts. He has held opponents to a .089 batting average (5-for-56), the third-lowest mark among International League relievers, including a .029 average (1-for-35) over his current seven-game scoreless streak (11.2 IP). Acquired by Boston in a trade with Cleveland last July, De La Torre owns a 2.77 ERA with 368 strikeouts in 357.0 innings over seven minor league seasons. He will wear No. 65 and will be available for Thursday’s game against the Twins.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m just real excited at being here and happy I got the opportunity,” said De La Torre, who had an eye-opening performance for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, including a stretch where he punched out (in succession) Jimmy Rollins, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Braun. “[The WBC] opened some eyes. I think it helped me pitching on a bigger stage and doing what I did. I think it helped me a lot.”
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