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.

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On this date in 1987…

Nine days after their respective front offices dramatically altered the NL East’s future trajectory by exchanging Tony Pena for Andy Van Slyke, Mike LaValliere and Mike Dunne, the on-field operations of the Pirates and Cardinals squared off in the Bucs’ home opener at Three Rivers.

Before a then-stadium-record baseball crowd of 52,119 (“[t]his crowd was lured by a fireworks display but they were not fireworks fans . . . they were baseball fans,” observed Bob Hertzel in the Pittsburgh Press), the Pirates parlayed two Jim Morrison home runs into a 3-1 lead after eight innings.

The smooth ride to victory soon became turbulent.  Brian Fisher, acquired from the Yankees in the offseason in what is now known as the “Doug Drabek trade” started the ninth inning by hitting Pena on the left thumb with a pitch.  The resulting broken thumb sidelined Pena for the next 34 games.  Three batters later, Curt Ford’s two-run double off Don Robinson tied the game 3-3.  The Bucs reached the bottom of the ninth tied only because of Morrison’s alert play to catch Ford in a rundown after an Ozzie Smith infield single. (“So Morrison held the ball. He had heard third-base coach Nick Leyva shouting, ‘C’mon, c’mon, c’mon’ to Ford,” reported Hertzel.)

With one out in the ninth, Morrison drew a walk.  One out later, Sid Bream drove a double off the right field wall to drive in Morrison and give the Bucs a 4-3 victory.

Random Aftermath Yinzer Observation:  The game story featured a picture of a gaggle of Pirates, including Bream and Jim Leyland, celebrating the game-winning hit.  A week later, the Press’ letters to the sports editor section included a letter from a Mt. Washington man who asserted that “[t]he pictures of Pirates hugging and embracing like French generals is disgusting, to say the least.  Ty Cobb would sharpen his spikes so they would cut a hapless infielder who had the temerity to try and tag him out.  Now players use pantyhose and women’s sprays.  And our national game has suffered in proportion.”

Here’s the box score and play-by-play:


Here’s the Pittsburgh Press article:



Lee Lacy – one of the nicest guys you’ll ever want to meet.

He does PR work for the Dodgers (or at least did a few years ago), and came out for Opening Day ceremonies at the Little League where I used to coach in L.A. I wore my ’79 Pirates’ black pillbox hat that day, and he made a point of coming up to me and remarking on it. We talked for about 10-15 minutes about his time with the Bucs, and he autographed some baseballs for the kids on my team (the Pirates, of course – so it was EXTRA cool to have a World Series Champ from the Pirates address them).


I would’ve written more about Lacy, because I liked him a lot as I was growing up but he was actually the sixth player I wrote about in the article and it was already over 1200 words before I started his bio. I got caught up in reading about Groskloss. He was the son of a good friend of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss. The Pirates signed him knowing that he wasn’t going to play baseball too long, medicine was his choice of career. According to a couple of articles, Howdy played baseball for the Pirates because his dad, who had passed away, was a huge fan of the team and he wanted to see his son play for the hometown team. Good stuff

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