Joel Hanrahan Needs Tommy John Surgery Again, Released By Tigers

The news was twice as bad for Joel Hanrahan, the ex-All Star closer who was trying to prove himself to the Detroit Tigers: He needs another Tommy John surgery and the Tigers released him.

Hanrahan had elbow surgery early in the 2013 season when he was with the Boston Red Sox. While he was in the middle of rehabbing, he signed a one-year deal with the Tigers for 2014. They thought Hanrahan would be ready toward the end of the 2014 season, but he wasn’t.

As he prepped for 2015, still with the Tigers on a minor-league deal, Hanrahan wasn’t able to pitch pain-free, so now he’s set for his second Tommy John surgery in less than two years. He knows this swings the odds against him in a major way, telling Jason Beck of MLB.com:

“It’s going to be a slow rehab,” said Hanrahan. “[Dr. Keith Meister] told me he wants me to go nine months without picking up a ball, and usually that’s four [months]. I’m going to give it what I’ve got, do the rehab and see where it leads. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it through and hopefully get back on the field someday.”

Hanrahan was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s 33, so it’s not entirely out of the question that he could pitch again, but coming back from two Tommy John surgeries is much more daunting than coming back from one.

“Unfortunately you see it in this business way too often,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

“And in recent years, it’s been even more frequent with these Tommy John surgeries so it’s certainly unfortunate for Joel and unfortunate for us because he’s a guy that, if he’s healthy, he could help us.”

He traveled to Dallas on Tuesday to get an opinion from orthopedic specialist Dr. Keith Meister, who will perform the surgery on him on March 18.

Hanrahan has a career 3.85 ERA in seven big-league seasons with the Nationals, Pirates and Red Sox. He signed one-year, minor-league deals with the Tigers in each of the last two years but was unable to contribute at the major league level.

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