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Hanrahan agrees on one-year deal with Tigers

05/02/2014 3:18 PM ET
By The Associated Press

Relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan pitched out of the Red Sox bullpen in 2013.(AP)
DETROIT (AP) -- Joel Hanrahan is still working his way back from elbow surgery for a team eagerly awaiting his return.

Hanrahan agreed to a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers, who are hopeful the right-hander can bolster a shaky bullpen when he's ready to pitch again in the majors. Hanrahan had Tommy John surgery last May after nine appearances for the Boston Red Sox in 2013. He saved 76 games over the previous two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"The one area we wanted to address the most with our ballclub has been our bullpen," general manager Dave Dombrowski said after announcing the deal Friday.

The Tigers put Hanrahan on the 15-day disabled list, saying they will not rush him back to the majors. Hanrahan is expected to throw to hitters next week.

"Right now I feel good. My arm feels good, my body feels good," Hanrahan said. "I'm able to throw a slider again, which I haven't been able to do for a while."

The 32-year-old Hanrahan said Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter - a friend of his - helped recruit him to Detroit.

Detroit signed veteran Joe Nathan to be the closer in the offseason, but the bullpen was hurt by a season-ending injury to Bruce Rondon. Tigers relievers had a 5.37 ERA entering Friday night's game at Kansas City.

The 6-foot-4 Hanrahan is hesitant to put any timetable on his return.

"I don't think anybody's really saying like, `You've got to be back on June 1,'" Hanrahan said. "It's kind of a situation where I haven't faced a hitter yet, I haven't bounced back from throwing in a game. It's a situation that, it'll come day by day."

If Hanrahan is healthy and effective, he could end up being one of the team's top right-handed options in the bullpen, along with Nathan. Al Alburquerque and Joba Chamberlain have shown the ability to strike hitters out, but they had ERAs of 4.50 and 4.35 entering Friday.

Hanrahan was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, and in 2010 he struck out 100 hitters in 69 2-3 innings for the Pirates.

"When anybody comes back from injury that's got an established big league history, we try to watch all of those guys throw whenever we can," Dombrowski said. "We're always looking to upgrade."

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