BOSTON -- The Red Sox' recent run of misfortune when it comes to the health of newly-acquired late-inning relievers continues unabated.
Two (and three) years ago, Bobby Jenks was unavailable for large portions of the season due to back issues. Last year, Andrew Bailey missed the first 4 1/2 months because of thumb surgery.
And Thursday, the team placed Joel Hanrahan on the 60-day disabled list, an indication that, even in a best-case scenario, Hanrahan will likely be lost to the team until after the All-Star break.
Hanrahan was originally placed on the 15-day DL Tuesday, a day after coming out a game complaining of soreness in his right forearm. An MRI showed problems with the flexor mass in his left forearm.
Copies of the MRI were sent to two other doctors for second opinions, including noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Hanrahan was traveling to Alabama Thursday with plans to meet with Andrews Friday, at which point a course of action will be determined.
A source close to Hanrahan noted that surgery remains "a definite possibility.''
"When he was injured,'' said manager John Farrell, "we had mentioned that it was likely to be an extended shutdown. For his own information-gathering, that's where the second opinion gathering is with with Dr. Andrews.''
Farrell said the original MRI suggested to the Sox that Hanrahan would be shut down for an extended period.
"Then when you factor in the buildup [to physically prepare to pitch again],'' said Farrell, "we felt like this is going to be a couple of months total, at a minimum.''
The loss of Hanrahan compromises the Red Sox' bullpen depth. Even after Hanrahan forfeited the closer's job for which he was originally intended, the Sox liked the idea of having an experienced late-inning reliever to help set-up for Bailey. Having an experienced closer as insurance against a setback for the oft-injured Bailey was also seen as a positive.
But now the Sox will have to rely on 37-year-old Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa as their principal late-inning set-up options.
"A healthy Joel Hanrahan getting injured is a blow for anyone,'' said Farrell. "[He's a] guy who's been a very successful pitcher. I don't know that you can necessarily just replace a guy of his abilities and talents.''
Farrell also acknowledged that surgery "has been part of the discussion. So 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.''
The manager said a best-case scenario would have Hanrahan returning to the Red Sox bullpen in the second half of the year after "conservative treatment -- and that is, rest, rehab, recovery and return to action. The fact that he's going for a second opinion -- I don't know he's at [a] point [where he can make the decision about rest or surgery] yet. That's the best I can tell you right now.''
This is already Hanrahan's second stint on the DL with the Red Sox. Two weeks into the season, he was disabled because of a strained right hamstring, which was hampering his command. After returning, Hanrahan made three appearances -- two in Toronto, on April 30 and May 2, and finally, his last one Monday against the Twins, during which he first experienced the discomfort in his forearm.
Hanrahan is on one-year deal with the Red Sox and is eligible for free agency after this year.