BOSTON -- By the time the Red Sox officially placed Joel Hanrahan on the 60-day disabled list on Thursday afternoon, the right-hander was already en route to Birmingham, Ala., where he's likely to learn if he can pitch again this season.
Hanrahan, who was acquired via trade in the offseason to be Boston's closer, has a right flexor muscle strain. During his exam with Dr. James Andrews on Friday, Hanrahan will likely learn whether his ulnar collateral ligament is damaged.
The worst-case scenario is Tommy John surgery. There's also the possibility Hanrahan could need another type of surgical procedure. The best case is no surgery, and a return to the mound when his DL stint expires around the All-Star break.
By adding Jose De La Torre to the bullpen for Thursday's game, the Red Sox needed to free up a roster spot on the 40-man roster, hence the move of Hanrahan to the 60-day DL.
"Once we got the initial MRI, it seemed that [a prolonged shutdown] was a possibility," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "So not knowing the extent or total number of days, we felt it was still going to require some recovery time and then when you factor in the buildup back from that, we felt this was going to be a couple of months total at a minimum."
The season has been an extremely frustrating one for Hanrahan, who struggled out of the gate while experiencing hamstring woes and lost the closer's job to Andrew Bailey.
Hanrahan is eligible for free agency after the season.
"A healthy Joel Hanrahan getting injured is a blow for anyone," said Farrell. "He's a guy that's been a very successful pitcher and, 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 expectations and our level of play shouldn't be compromised by that. The expectation here is to go out every night, to prepare, and to put a game together to win."
Bailey is also out at the moment with a strained right biceps injury. He's eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, but there's no word yet on whether he'll be ready by then.
Bailey did play catch on Thursday, which signified the start of his throwing program. Junichi Tazawa is filling in as Boston's closer.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.