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Joel Hanrahan to undergo season-ending surgery

05.11.13 at 11:30 am ET
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Closer Joel Hanrahan will undergo season-ending surgery (AP)

Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his right forearm. The procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews, likely next week.

Hanrahan said that there was really no decision to be made once he was examined both in Boston and then by Andrews, suggesting that the tendon had torn off the bone. Initial reviews of the MRI suggest that Hanrahan’s ulnar collateral ligament is intact, though he will be further examined when Andrews performs the flexor tendon surgery to determine if he also requires a Tommy John procedure.

“I thought there might be a decision to make, but after talking with [Andrews] — he basically walked in, looked at my arm, touched it, and said there really wasn’t a decision. The flexor pretty much tore right off the bone. It wasn’t really a decision,” said Hanrahan. “It’s just a matter of what kind of surgery it was going to be. As of now, it’s just going to be the flexor. When he gets in there and takes a look, it could be worse, it could be not as bad.”

The recovery from the procedure (even if Tommy John doesn’t enter the equation), Hanrahan said, is typically six to nine months, meaning his 2013 season is effectively over.

“I’m not going to put a timetable on it,” said Hanrahan. “I’m just going to do everything I can to get ready for next year.”

Hanrahan, acquired with Brock Holt from the Pirates this offseason in exchange for right-hander Mark Melancon, outfielder Jerry Sands, right-hander Stolmy Pimentel and infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., allowed eight runs in 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking four. He recorded four saves in six opportunities.

The 31-year-old, an All-Star in both 2011 and 2012 in Pittsburgh, is eligible for free agency after 2013. He suggested that he and the Red Sox haven’t discussed a future beyond this season, but Hanrahan suggested that he would like an opportunity to pitch in Boston when healthy.

“Surgery, with the guys that are doing it these days and the programs they have, surgery is kind of like putting a Band-Aid on something. They’re so good at their job, kind of like we are, it takes a lot of the worry out of everything and stick with the programs that they have and try to get strong and healthy for next year,” said Hanrahan. “[The diagnosis is] still pretty new. [The Sox and Hanrahan] haven’t gotten to that point [of figuring out if the door is open to a return]. We’re just trying to find out the details of when and where and what’s going to happen after that. Hopefully I’ll get another chance here, maybe, and show the fans here what kind of pitcher I really am. This year has kind of been a wash. Now it’s definitely a wash. We’ll see where it takes me from there.”

Manager John Farrell said that he’d had numerous conversations with Hanrahan since he walked off the mound with the injury on Monday, and said that, even though the closer will be a free agent, it was important to put his interests ahead of the idea of whether or not the team could extract some value out of him by having him follow a rest and rehab course that might or might not create the possibility of him pitching for the Sox this year.

“In situations like this you set aside the person’s contract status. You have to get the best available information on the injury that occurred and what’s the best course to take long term. This is a guy that’s 31 years old and yes free agency is pending, but you have to do what’s right for the guy,” said Farrell. “You don’t want a short term solution or a quick fix. This is something that’s got to be taken care of hopefully once and then he has a long and productive career following.”

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