Hanrahan may return by opening day

UPDATE (2/25/2010):Joel Hanrahan received some good news from Dr. James Andrews today. Jen Langosch reports:

Right-hander Joel Hanrahan received good news from Dr. James Andrews on Thursday. Andrews confirmed the results of Hanrahan’s MRI earlier this week (dissipating inflammation and no structural damage) and has cleared Hanrahan to begin throwing soon.

Hanrahan will begin throwing next week, and may be back in time for opening day. Very good to hear.

Andrews also examined Jose Ascanio, and reported that he remains on pace to return from shoulder surgery in mid-June.

UPDATE (2/23/2010):Per Jen Langosch:

According to general manager Neal Huntington, the MRI showed that much of the inflammation in Hanrahan’s right elbow had dissipated. It also confirmed earlier tests that revealed no structural damage.

ORIGINAL POST (2/18/2010): The opening of spring training brought news of an elbow injury for Joel Hanrahan. Officially, Hanrahan has been diagnosed with “a flexor pronator strain in the elbow.” He will likely miss the opening of the season, but it is unclear exactly how long he will be out. The distinguished Dr. James Andrews will examine him next week. One thing to keep in mind, Dr. Andrews often delivers good news, too.

Said Hanrahan:

It’s something that I kind of battled with in August and September. I felt good coming into mini-camp [a month ago]; probably cranked it up a little too much there. I tried to psyche myself out and say it wasn’t anything. I took about a week off after mini-camp. Didn’t feel great. I felt like I could throw, but I wouldn’t do any help to myself or the team. Got it checked out. Just got a little setback.

Nothing structural. It’s like tendinitis — a little strain in the forearm.

Emphasis is mine. Hanrahan has already undergone one MRI with no structural damage being discovered. Hopefully, the second MRI will reveal the same, making Hanrahan’s outlook much more optimistic.

Neal Huntington’s take:

The reality is, Joel’s probably not going to be ready for opening day. Is it May 1? Is it June 1? We’ll know more as we get more doctor information. . . .He is very likely to start the season on the DL and may even miss some time during the season.

I asked Will Carroll for a quick take on the injury, via Twitter. Here is his response.

It’s not good but returnable. Someone had it last yr – oh Lidge.

We also found out today that Ramon Vazquez underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in November. He is expected to be 100% by opening day, but that probably does not help his chances of making the team. Maybe he starts the season on the disabled list, whether he is injured or not. Huntington added that Jose Ascanio, Tyler Yates, Craig Hansen, Neal Cotts and Jimmy Barthmaier are all on schedule in their injury recoveries.

Author: Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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