Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Tigers have signed right-hander Joel Hanrahan, who recently held a workout for teams to show them how he’s progressing in a return from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Hanrahan is expected to be ready for game action sometime in June and Heyman previously wrote that the Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox, and Rockies were all in the mix to sign the former Pirates (and very briefly Red Sox) closer.
Prior to an injury wrecked 2013 season in Boston he saved 40 games in 2012 and 36 games in 2011 for Pittsburgh, posting a combined 2.24 ERA with 128 strikeouts in 128 innings during that time.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski always loves hard-throwing pitchers and few throw harder than Hanrahan, who averaged 96.5 miles per hour with his fastball from 2011-2013. Joe Nathan has the closer job locked down in Detroit, but the 32-year-old Hanrahan could emerge as a late-inning setup man in the second half if his recovery goes smoothly.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.