Joel Hanrahan injury update: Red Sox closer undergoes Tommy John surgery (UPDATE)

Jim Rogash

Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan is done for the 2013 season.

UPDATE 5/17: The worst-case scenario for Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan has been realized. The right-hander underwent surgery to repair his flexor tendon this week, and while the doctors were in there they decided he needed Tommy John surgery as well, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.

The flexor tendon surgery alone was expected to keep Hanrahan out the remainder of the season, so the Tommy John operation just confirms that timeline. The right-hander will be sidelined for at least the next 12 months.

UPDATE: Joel Hanrahan officially announced on Saturday that he will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his damaged tendon next week. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery.

Hanrahan is not out of the woods yet, as Andrews could discover ligament damage as well as tendon damage. If the doctor discovers ligament damage, the pitcher will need to undergo Tommy John surgery.

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ORIGINAL: The Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan has damage to his right muscle flexor tendon, reports Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com. At this point, Hanrahan has not yet decided whether to undergo surgery or not but it is definitely a possibility.

The Red Sox placed the 31-year-old reliever on the 60-day disabled list prior a visit to elbow specialist and Tommy John surgery guru Dr. James Andrews. The results of that examination have confirmed some of the team’s worst fears in revealing tendon damage, but at this point it is still unclear if there is damage to the ulnar collateral ligament which would necessitate Tommy John surgery. Even if Hanrahan is able to avoid that procedure it will be at least six weeks before the righty can resume throwing activities and there would be no clear time table for a possible return.

Hanrahan was acquired by the Red Sox this off-season in trade with the PittsburghPirates. The Red Sox sent setup man Mark Melancon, prospect Stolmy Pimentel and minor leaguers Ivan Dejesus and Jerry Sands to the Pirates for Hanrahan and minor leaguer Brock Holt. Prior to this injury, Hanrahan had been struggling badly with Boston, posting a 9.82 ERA in 7 1/3 innings and allowing four home runs and six walks while striking out five. He also missed time earlier in the season with a hamstring strain.

During Hanrahan’s first trip to the DL, the Red Sox had turned to Andrew Bailey to replace him in the closer’s role, but Bailey is currently on the 15-day DL with a sore right bicep. Since Hanrahan blew his last save opportunity on May 6, Boston has not needed anyone to pitch in a save situation.At this point it appears that veteran Koji Uehara and 26-year-old Junichi Tazawa are the two top options for the closer's role in the absence of both Hanrahan and Bailey.

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