Joel Hanrahan to begin season on disabled list

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Traded to Pittsburgh along with Lastings Milledge in late June, Joel Hanrahan tossed 31.1 innings with a 1.71 ERA down the stretch and was slated to be the Pirates’ primary setup man this year. Unfortunately the team announced today that he’s expected to begin the season on the disabled list with a strained elbow.
He’s been shut down and is scheduled to be examined next week by Dr. James Andrews, which is often a precursor for even worse news. Hanrahan revealed that his second-half success with the Pirates came despite pitching through frequent elbow discomfort, which apparently resumed last month during a mini-camp mound session.
Even with his strong second half the 28-year-old Hanrahan has a 4.32 ERA and 167/78 K/BB ratio in 150 career innings as a reliever, which is certainly nothing special. However, the Pirates’ lack of quality late-inning options figured to force him into a setup role almost by default. Aside from Octavio Dotel at closer the rest of the bullpen is pretty wide open and the Pirates are long on middle relief-caliber arms.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.