LAKELAND, Fla. — Right-handed pitcher Joel Hanrahan hasn't thrown a baseball since February 21. It's been nearly two years since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2013. After his latest setback, Tuesday Hanrahan will travel to Texas to see elbow specialist Dr. Keith Meister for some answers.
The Tigers initially signed Hanrahan to a one-year deal in 2014, before re-signing him to a low-cost deal for the 2015 season with the knowledge that he had little chance to pitch in live games. There aren't really any real-game implications at the moment, but the on-again off-again is dragging out longer than it should.
"I'm past the frustration part," Hanrahan said. "It's been long enough. You guys all know that. I'm just looking for answers. Obviously it's been a long time and it's not working out the right way so just try to get some answers."
Both Hanrahan and the Tigers need to know why no progress has been made after nearly two years. The visit is essentially an evaluation so the team can better-formulate an idea and maybe figure out what to do. Frustration has come and gone at this point and it's time for something more.
"It's like a roller coaster," Hanrahan said. "Some days it's better, some days it gets worse. Some days it feels better. It's just one of them things that with that kind of roller coaster, it's not going to be beneficial to anybody to go out there and try to pitch."
The roller coaster isn't a runaway beast, but it's certainly not under control either and his recovery is far from on track. Hanrahan doesn't know what's wrong, it doesn't make sense, and he can't even pinpoint one particular thing that's ailing him. So if he has to go to Dallas, which is where Dr. Meister is, then that's where he's going.
Asked to describe the feeling, what the pain/discomfort/ache is like, Hanrahan didn't have a definitive answer. And that's part of the problem.
"That's a good question," he said. "If it felt the same every day, I could give you some more answers. Some days it basically feels like my bones are rubbing up against each other, some days it feels like somebody's pinching me in my bicep. So it's a little bit of everything."