It was announced today that Joel Hanrahan would need Tommy John surgery. Again. Soon after that the Tigers announced that they had released Hanrahan. Which got me wondering “so, who pays for his surgery now?”
This is stuff covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the minor league Uniform Player Contract. But it’s been too many years since I examined legal documents and I’m lazy, so I asked someone who works with these things for a living about it all. The upshot:
Usually, even with a released player, the team he was with when diagnosed will pay for the surgery. That’s the Tigers. Occasionally, however, a team will try to say that the injury originally occurred with a previous team and make an effort to get that team to pay. The Tigers, I understand, aren’t petty like that and will most likely will pay.
Teams pay the cost of surgery directly. It does not go through the player’s health insurance. However, released players do have to rehab privately, and that rehab is paid through the player’s insurance. Said insurance is private insurance provided via the Collective Bargaining Agreement and administered by the MLBPA. A player in Hanrahan’s position is also eligible for worker’s comp since they’re unemployed.
This is Regulation 2 of the major league Uniform Player Contract which covers such things for big leaguers:
And here is the minor league provision, which actually applies to Hanrahan given that he was on a minor league deal:
The more you know:
Awful news for Joel Hanrahan:
The Tigers signed Joel Hanrahan last May, thinking that they could deal with his rehab from Tommy John surgery and reap the rewards of some late season bullpen help. That didn’t happen however, as his rehab lasted longer than anticipated. Then, as this season began, arm soreness lingered. Now this.
Hanrahan was one of the best relievers in baseball before the injuries hit, posting a 2.73 ERA with 228 strikeouts in 198 innings from 2010-2012. He has missed almost two entire years now, however, and will miss yet another year. Just horrible news for the guy.
While veteran reliever Joel Hanrahan is headed to see a specialist about his continued arm soreness, today was mostly a positive day for the Tigers on the health front.
According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Miguel Cabrera took on-field batting practice today for the first time this spring and said it felt “good.” Of course, he’s making his way back from offseason surgery on his left foot and just received clearance to increase activities less than two weeks ago. He’s still running on an anti-gravity treadmill, but the early signs are promising. The Tigers are hopeful he’ll be ready for Opening Day or at least right around it.
The good news doesn’t end there, as Victor Martinez arrived in camp today and did his first workout. Specifically, he took 30 swings off a tee from both sides of the plate and also ran on the anti-gravity treadmill. The 36-year-old had surgery less than one month ago to repair the medial meniscus in his left knee, but the expectation was that he would be ready for full activities in 4-6 weeks. Barring any setbacks, that puts him on track to be ready for the season.
Finally, shortstop Jose Iglesias saw his first game action in a year today when he played one inning in an exhibition game against Florida Southern. It wasn’t much — he recorded one put-out on a pop-up and grounded out in his only at-bat — but it’s nice to hear for someone who missed all of last season with stress fractures in both of his shins. Iglesias is a ton of fun to watch play shortstop and Tigers pitchers are surely hoping he’ll be able to stay healthy this year.