Tigers aren’t counting on Hanrahan, but remain hopeful

For his career, Joel Hanrahan is 22-18 with a 3.85 ERA and 100 saves.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT — The Tigers aren’t counting on Joel Hanrahan, but they’re hopeful.

In addition to finalizing the four-year deal for designated hitter Victor Martinez, the Tigers re-signed reliever Joel Hanrahan to a one-year minor league deal with an invitation to big-league spring training.

"He’s in a position where he feels great — of course he’s not throwing at this time," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "But Dr. Andrews said he’s healed, he should be ready to go, he’s going to start throwing after Thanksgiving, December 1. We’re hopeful that he’ll be able to help us next year but we’ll have to wait and see."

The Tigers signed Hanrahan last May in the hopes that he could recover from his Tommy John surgery from the previous May in time to bolster the bullpen.

"He just ended up having some setbacks so he never really got over the Tommy John surgery," Dombrowski said. "Doctor again feels he’s OK. We had him checked again to see if he needed another surgery, which he did not. He’s more of a chance. I can’t tell you were 100 percent counting on him because he still has to go forward in bouncing back from his surgery."

Dombrowski said Hanrahan and his representatives felt that he owed the Tigers for taking a chance on him last year.

"They basically felt that way and they used that word, so we appreciated it," Dombrowski said. "He could have signed a guaranteed contract somewhere else where he would’ve gotten guaranteed big-league dollars but they really chose not to pursue that, they just talked to us."

Hanrahan was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012. 

For his career, Hanrahan is 22-18 with a 3.85 ERA and 100 saves. He debuted in 2007 with the Washington Nationals and has also pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox.

Although Harahan would fill a role in the bullpen, Dombrowski said at this point they wouldn’t write his name down in pen.

"At this point he’s a gamble, he wanted to come back here, we didn’t have to give him a guaranteed contract because he felt last year that he didn’t come back like he thought he might," Dombrowski said. "We worked on getting it done, he was great on it, but I’m not putting him in and saying he’s in our bullpen for sure."