BOSTON -- Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan was diagnosed Tuesday with a flexor-pronator strain in his right arm, in the inside of his elbow, that will sideline him indefinitely, but said he is confident that the injury will not require surgery.
“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 still need to talk to one more guy (doctor) tonight," Hanrahan said. “But talking to the (doctors) earlier, I think it’s all right."
Hanrahan said it's likely he will seek a second opinion, but that will not require another exam.
Manager John Farrell said that he could not offer any timetable for Hanrahan, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, the second Sox closer in two days to go on the DL. Andrew Bailey went on the DL Monday, postdated April 29, and will be eligible to return next Tuesday.
“After the MRI came back, it was clear that he has inflammation in the right forearm, there is a strain to the right forearm," Farrell said. “It’s probably going to be a period of time for a shutdown and a recovery for him, so that’s where Joel’s at right now.
“I want to be careful not to put a time frame on it and he’s either quicker than it or longer than it and that becomes a story in and of itself. It’s confirmed that he’s got a strain to the right forearm. When we say there’s going to be a shutdown period, we have to go on... I’m sure there will be a re-exam or another MRI, but at this point he is in a shutdown period."
Hanrahan said the injury is very similar to the one he was diagnosed with by the Pittsburgh Pirates in spring training of 2010, when he missed that season’s first six games with a flexor-pronator strain.
“I think this one is a little more extreme, there’s a little more fluid in there," Hanrahan said. “But this time, hopefully, it’ll be a rehab thing and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks."
Hanrahan’s timetable sounds overly optimistic. Typically, such an injury is first treated with anti-inflammatories and rest, and then after the inflammation has subsided, a pitcher generally is sent out on a rehab assignment to the minor leagues.
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."