Joel Hanrahan’s Injury Continues to Linger in Back of Closer’s Mind, Creating ‘Frustrating’ Situation

Joel HanrahanJoel Hanrahan has been ineffective over his last few outings, and his health might have something to do with it.

Hanrahan said Sunday that he’s been dealing with right hamstring soreness, and he’s now considered “day-to-day.” The right-hander apparently suffered the injury on a pitch in his second outing in New York. He has been receiving treatment from the Red Sox’ medical staff ever since, but he admits it’s something that he continues to think about.

“It’s in the back of your mind. If you’re driving down the street thinking about hitting a car, you have a better chance of hitting a car, so you’ve got to be careful with it,” Hanrahan said before Sunday’s game.

Manager John Farrell said the Red Sox will look to stay away from going to Hanrahan over the next few days, and Andrew Bailey will serve as Boston’s closer in his place. Farrell was noncommittal when asked if he’d consider inserting Hanrahan into non-save situations going forward.

“I think, most importantly, after what’s taken place the last two times and in our discussion this morning, what has been revealed, we’ve got to let this settle down first before we get back into game activity,” Farrell said. “What that game activity is, that’s yet to be determined.”

Bailey’s presence will certainly help lessen the blow of losing Hanrahan, especially given how well he’s pitched early on this season in his new setup role.

“You can’t have enough pitching. Not to elude the question of a guy who’s been an All-Star closer himself, but in a situation like this to have an Andrew Bailey-type of reliever assume that role, yeah, it’s a fortunate luxury,” Farrell said.

Farrell is hopeful that Hanrahan’s injury won’t require a DL stint, but he did notice some ill effects of the issue while watching film. The Sox skipper said that the injury has, above all, impacted the effectiveness of Hanrahan’s breaking ball.

Hanrahan said that the issue is something he dealt with early last season while with the Pirates. It caused him to miss five games, but he thought that he could push through it this time around. Now, Hanrahan feels that letting the injury heal is the best course of action – for everyone involved.

“It’s kind of been there every game. It’s just progressively gotten a little worse,” Hanrahan said. “It’s something that if I keep running out there…I’m not only going to hurt myself, I’m going to hurt the team.”

Hanrahan arrived in Boston on the heels of back-to-back All-Star selections with the Pirates, but his brief stint with the Red Sox has been a difficult one so far. He suffered a blown save in which he surrendered five earned runs on Wednesday, and he was pulled in the middle of the ninth inning on Saturday after walking the only two batters he faced.

Hanrahan knows he’s capable of so much more.

“It’s frustrating. That’s the main part. It’s frustrating because I know when I go out there, I’m not 100 percent,” Hanrahan said. “That guy that’s been out there the last couple of games, that’s not Joel Hanrahan, and I know that. The fans here, they don’t know much because they haven’t seen me pitch much, so that’s not me. That’s not the way that I pitch. I feel like once I get my legs underneath me, I can go back to where I was.”

The Red Sox certainly need Hanrahan to get back to where he was. Regardless of what role he pitches in, Boston’s bullpen would be much more daunting with a healthy, effective Hanrahan in the mix.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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