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.
Middlebrooks, Ross return to lineup
BOSTON -- The Red Sox had Will Middlebrooks and David Ross back in the starting lineup on Thursday night, just two nights after they collided in foul territory.
In particular, there was initial concern for Middlebrooks, who had tests done on his right side to rule out a rib or oblique injury.
Instead, Middlebrooks just has lingering soreness.
"It's still pretty sore, pretty tender. I got a nice little bruise on my ribs," Middlebrooks said. "I thought I got hit by a truck. I've got to pick the biggest guy on the team to pick on? But it was actually the wall that got me the best. But I'm fine, good enough to play. I actually wanted to play yesterday, but [didn't for] precautionary reasons."
Now that Middlebrooks is back, he can return to the quest of trying to get out of a slump that has followed him for several weeks.
"It's a little sore, but I think the way I've been swinging lately, I don't think it's going to get much worse," quipped Middlebrooks. "Just want to get out there and maybe this will turn some things around for me."
Does Middlebrooks feel any closer to regaining his groove?
"I'm feeling more comfortable and you know, it's coming," said Middlebrooks. "I'm just going to keep on grinding, keep doing what I can to help us win."
Doubront expected to start next week
BOSTON -- Despite his decreased velocity and recent lack of success, Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront is expected to slot back into the rotation at some point next week, according to manager John Farrell.
The Red Sox have an off-day on Monday, but would need a fifth starter by May 18 at the latest.
Scratched in favor of Allen Webster in his last start, Doubront threw 103 pitches out of the bullpen in a mop-up role on Wednesday and got shelled.
How can the club get him back on track?
"To try to continue to generate arm speed and that's through energy in the delivery," Farrell said. "You can't just point your finger to one thing and say, 'This is going to create additional velocity.' If you start to speed up a body and then you have to take into account an arm action, which his is a little bit longer, but that's what his natural arm action is, we can't begin to adjust an arm action.
"That's too dangerous from a health standpoint and that takes time. You stay the course with the constants and that's the strengthening programs and that's what's employed every five days in that work week. I think barring any increase in velocity, what's got to be adjusted is his recognition of the stuff that he has, particularly when he gets ahead in the count."
De La Torre to get his chance in big leagues
BOSTON -- The recent injuries to Boston's bullpen have created an opportunity for Jose De La Torre, who had his contract selected from Triple-A Pawtucket for Thursday's game against the Twins.
De La Torre was acquired from the Indians on July 24, 2012 in a trade for Brent Lillibridge.
This is the first time the 27-year-old De La Torre has been on a Major League roster.
"I wasn't expecting it, but I'm just real excited at being here and happy I got the opportunity," De La Torre said.
He pitched for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in March.
"I think it opened some eyes. I think it helped me pitching on a bigger stage and doing what I did. I think it helped me a lot," De La Torre said.
How will De La Torre be used by manager John Farrell?
"Low leverage innings right now," said Farrell. "He's been stretched out to a couple of innings while at Pawtucket. Very good breaking ball that he showed us in Spring Training. He's got the ability to get an above average fastball at times. So we'll pick our spots for him. I'm not going to say he's just a strict matchup guy. We needed the arm, obviously, in the bullpen."
De La Torre posted a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings for Pawtucket, holding opposing hitters to a .089 batting average (5-for-56). He allowed only one knock over his last 11 2/3 frames.
• Left-hander Franklin Morales, who has had a plethora of nagging injuries that have prevented him from pitching for the Red Sox this season, restarted his Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday. Morales fired two scoreless innings for Double-A Portland. The plan continues to be for Morales to get stretched out as a starter before returning to the Red Sox.
• The Red Sox announced their Minor League Players of the Month for April. Garin Cecchini earned hitting honors, hitting .392 in 21 games for Class A Salem. Anthony Ranaudo was voted the top pitcher, posting a 0.83 ERA in four starts for Double-A Portland. Chris Martin didn't allow a run in eight games for Portland, and was selected as reliever of the month. Portland catcher Christian Vazquez, who wowed people with his throwing in Spring Training, was voted as the top defender.