Boston Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan's season is over after just 7 1/3 innings. The 31-year old right-hander will have flexor tendon surgery after tearing the muscle off the bone. He's expected to miss six to nine months following that surgery, but may also require Tommy John, which will extend his timetable even further.
However, just beause the timeframe is listed at six to nine months doesn't mean he'll be ready to go for the beginning of next season. Colby Lewis of the Rangers had the same surgery last July, and is still on a rehab assignment. Granted, Lewis has more work to do than Hanrahan to get back as a starter as opposed to a reliever, but it's still not set in stone that Hanrahan is going to be 100% for Opening Day, especially if the Tommy John is required as well.
The back-end of Boston's bullpen has been a mess since Hanrahan's injury, and the team is now on their third closer of the season after Andrew Bailey was (shockingly) also put on the DL. With Hanrahan now out for the year, and Bailey likely still out for another couple of weeks with an inflammed biceps, there is going to be even more pressure on the awesome Japanese duo of Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara, who were in much less high pressure roles just a couple of weeks ago. Boston now needs to count on young Alex Wilson in medium leverage innings, along with the dynamic and erratic Andrew Miller. Luckily for Boston, Craig Breslow just came off the DL and should do a solid job at shoring up their bullpen.
Luckily for the Red Sox, their rotation has been much better than a year ago. Felix Doubront is the only regular Boston starter with an ERA above 3.00, and the trio of Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Ryan Dempster has been one of the very best threesomes in baseball. Throw in a resurgent season thusfar from John Lackey, and a lights out bullpen is a much less important part of the Red Sox game than anyone imagined.