Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan undergoes Tommy John surgery

Jim Rogash

There was hope he could avoid the procedure, but exploratory surgery found that it was necessary.

With damage to his flexor tendon a definite, Joel Hanrahan was going to be out until at least the 2014 season as he recovered from surgery. He'll be out just a bit longer than that now, though, as exploratory surgery performed while patching up the known elbow injury resulted in finding out that the Red Sox reliever also required Tommy John on his ulnar collateral ligament.

This pushes Hanrahan to the one-year timetable, meaning he isn't likely to return until May of 2014 at the earliest. In more positive news, with the flexor tendon fixed and Tommy John now taken care of, his elbow should not be a problem going forward. What this means for his free agency is unclear, but this should limit concerns about a second surgery in the near future.

The Red Sox could always re-sign Hanrahan to an incentives-based deal, sliding him to the 60-day disabled list once rosters need to be finalized in order to keep their roster clear until he's ready to return. If he's healthy, he can be useful, and if the cost is reduced due to surgery, it's worth looking into. As it's just May, though, it's too early to seriously speculate on next steps, even if Hanrahan's 2013 story has now come to its close.

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