The Red Sox placed Joel Hanrahan on the 60-day disabled list today to make room on the 40-man roster for righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre.
Hanrahan had been placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a flexor muscle strain. He is now on his way to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by Dr. James Andrews Friday.
Regardless of the diagnosis, Hanrahan will be out at least two months and likely more.
"Once we got the initial MRI, it seemed that was a possibility," Sox manager John Farrell said. "Not knowing the extent or total number of days, we felt it was still going to require some recovery time. Then when you factor in the build-up back from that, it felt like it was going to be a couple of months total at a minimum."
There is concern that Hanrahan could have a torn ulnar collateral ligament. That would require Tommy John surgery.
"We can't rule it out," Farrell said. "But yet I don't know that there's information that's in hand to date that says it's definite ligament issues. That's where tomorrow's exam will be valuable in that area."
Hanrahan also could have surgery to repair the flexor muscle.
"That's been part of the discussion," Farrell said. "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."
But even if surgery can be avoided, Hanrahan will not be back for at least two months — if then.
"Best case is the conservative treatment," Farrell said. "That is rest, rehab, recovery, and return to action. That's the best I can tell you right now."
Is there any hope that Hanrahan pitches again for the Red Sox this season?
"At this point, yes," Farrell said. "If everything were to respond favorably to that conservative course of action then, yes, that's a possibility."
The Sox are also without backup closer Andrew Bailey, who went on the disabled list Monday. Junichi Tazawa now has the job.
"A healthy Joel Hanrahan getting injured is a blow for anyone," said Farrell. "A guy that's been a very successful pitcher, I don't know that you can just necessarily replace a guy of his abilities and talents.
"But regardless of the injuries that we're dealing with right now, our expectation and our level of play shouldn't be compromised by that.
"That's the expectation here, to go out every night, to prepare and put a game together to win."