July 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm

'Highly unlikely' Joel Hanrahan will pitch for Tigers this season

Since hitting the majors in 2007, Joel Hanrahan has a career strikeouts per nine innings ratio of 9.8. (Associated Press / Elise Amendola)

Detroit — Well, it was worth a shot.

But more and more, it seems almost certain Joel Hanrahan will not be pitching for the Tigers this year.

“We’re not counting on him at all,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “There’s still going to be another medical check being done, but I would say right now, it’s highly unlikely he would be able to pitch for us this year.”

Dombrowski made his comments on the conference call where he announced the trade for late-inning reliever Joakim Soria, an acquisition necessitated, in part, by Hanrahan’s slow progress.

Hanrahan, 32, was a two-time All-Star closer with the Pirates, back when his fastball reached triple digits.

He had Tommy John surgery last year, and seemed well on his way to a comeback when the Tigers signed him in May — beating out several other interested clubs in the process. The Tigers, though, always were hesitant to put a timetable on his return, and now we know why.

Hanrahan has had a series of setbacks, including being shutdown during a throwing session Saturday.

“It does not sound encouraging,” said Dombrowski, noting the team still is seeking another opinion.

The Tigers signed Hanrahan to a one-year deal that will pay him a pro-rated portion of his $1 million base salary.

Dombrowski said Thursday the Tigers continue to monitor the relief market, even after the Soria pickup. They definitely are interested in acquiring a left-handed reliever.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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