The Red Sox threw embattled closer Joel Hanrahan a life preserver Sunday, shutting him down for a few days to deal with a sore right hamstring.
The injury, Hanrahan said, occurred April 3 in New York when he picked up a save against the Yankees.
“It’s kind of been there in the back of my mind. I was hoping I could get through it,’’ Hanrahan said. “I’ve kind of pitched a couple of games through it and I’ve been doing some treatment on it. It’s not anything terrible but it’s something that’s going to need a couple of days off, I think.’’
For now, Andrew Bailey will work as the closer.
Hanrahan struggled in his last three appearances, allowing six runs on five hits (two of them home runs) and four walks over 1⅔ innings. He blew a save against the Orioles Wednesday, and Saturday was pulled from the game after walking the only two batters he faced.
Hanrahan injured his right hamstring April 15, 2012, while pitching for the Pirates. At the time, he attributed it to throwing 31 pitches in one inning against the Giants. This latest injury, he said, is in the same spot.
Hanrahan threw 32 pitches against the Orioles Wednesday when he allowed five runs. He has an ERA of 11.57.
Hanrahan was out five days with the injury last season but pitched well after he returned.
“We’ve got to let this settle down first before we get him back into game activity,’’ said manager John Farrell, who met with Hanrahan Sunday morning. “What that game activity is, that has yet to be determined.’’
Could Hanrahan land on the disabled list?
“Right now, we’re hopeful that’s not the case,’’ Farrell said. “That’s not to speculate that it would. I think our starters working deep in the game will have some effect on that. As we mentioned to Joel, we’ll put our heads together and map out what’s best for all involved.’’
Hanrahan said the injury has affected his mechanics.
“You’re not able to repeat your delivery when you’re worrying about your hamstring, if it’s going to pull or grab or going to twist. It’s something that’s in the back of your mind,’’ he said.
“It’s something I’ve got to get right. Everybody’s got a little bump and bruise. At this point, I’m going to take a couple of days and get it right.
“It’s kind of been there every game and progressively gotten a little worse. It’s something that, if I keep running out there trying to do it, I’m going to hurt myself more and hurt the rest of the team. We felt like the best way was to take a couple of days.’’
Hanrahan, who was booed off the mound Saturday, said the situation has been frustrating.
“That’s the main part because I know when I go out there I’m not 100 percent. The guy that’s been out there the last couple of games, that’s not Joel Hanrahan,’’ he said. “I know that. I don’t know if everybody, the fans here, they don’t know much because they haven’t seen me pitch much. That’s not me, that’s not the way that I pitch.
“I feel like once I get my legs underneath me I can be back to where I was.’’
David Ortiz was in the lineup Sunday for Triple A Pawtucket before being scratched with an illness that Farrell described as a “sinus funk.’’
The Sox were hoping for Ortiz to get four plate appearances. He was 3 for 7 with three RBIs in the first two games of his injury rehabilitation assignment. The hope is that Ortiz will be able to play for Pawtucket Monday.
Farrell initially said that Ortiz would need 25-30 plate appearances at Pawtucket before being activated. But it would financially benefit Ortiz to return before April 20.
Ortiz’s 2014 salary would increase from $11 million to $15 million if he does not spend 20 days on the disabled list once the season starts.
Dustin Pedroia (3 for 4 with a double) has reached safely in all 11 games this season, and 21 straight dating to last season . . . Stephen Drew is 1 for 13 since coming off the disabled list. He was credited with an RBI Sunday, his first with the Red Sox . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. was back in the lineup and went 0 for 3. He is hitless in his last 17 at-bats with eight strikeouts and is down to .107 . . . The Sox have committed two errors all season, both in the outfield Wednesday . . . The Sox have won 11 of their last 20 vs. the Rays . . . Daniel Nava has reached safely in 18 consecutive starts dating to Sept. 21.
Players and coaches from the Red Sox and Rays will wear No. 42 Monday as Major League Baseball celebrates the legacy of Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line April 15, 1947. The Sox also will wear 42 in Cleveland Tuesday night. The Indians do not play Monday . . . A group of 12 wounded veterans who will compete in the Boston Marathon Monday using hand cycles threw out the first pitch. The group, part of the Achilles Freedom Team, received a big ovation from the crowd and applause from the Sox players on the top step of the dugout as they left the field.