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Hanrahan will begin season on DL

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander Joel Hanrahan, who’s a big part of the Pirates’ bullpen plans, will miss the start of the regular season due to a strained elbow.

An MRI taken about 10 days ago showed inflammation, but no structural damage. Hanrahan will have another MRI done Tuesday and also is scheduled to visit orthopedist Dr. James Andrews next week.

Hanrahan first was bothered by the pain in his elbow and tightness in his forearm last August, but pitched through it. It flared up again in mid-January, during minicamp and Hanrahan was shut down — no throwing, no weight lifting – for about a week.

“I felt good coming into minicamp, but probably cranked it up a little too much,” Hanrahan said.

Hanrahan will be re-examined today at Pirate City by Dr. Patrick DeMeo, and has been shut down indefinitely. General manager Neal Huntington expects Hanrahan to begin the season on the disabled list, but is not yet ready to set a timetable for Hanrahan’s return.

“Is it May 1? Is is June 1? We’ll know more as we get more information,” Huntington said.

Also today, the Pirates revealed infielder Ramon Vazquez had arthroscopic surgery in November to repair cartilage damage in his right knee. Vazquez’s workouts will be limited at the start of spring training, but he could be ready by Opening Day.

Vazquez said he sustained the injury Aug. 9 while running to first base in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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