New Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan, a career-long National Leaguer who had never been active on a team at a time that it made the trip to Boston in interleague play, visited Fenway Park on Tuesday for the first time in his career. The right-hander exuded obvious excitement about the venue where what he described as his “new office” is located.
“I thought this place was amazing,” Hanrahan told reporters following his tour. “A lot bigger than I thought it was. Obviously, a ton of history here. I got to go up on the top of the Monster and see what it’s like from that angle. I know my wife is going to be begging me to sit out there one day. But it looked great. I got to go in the clubhouse for the first time and see where my new office is. I’m excited. It looks great.”
A two-time All-Star with the Pirates, Hanrahan — whom the Sox acquired in a trade that became official the day after Christmas — said that he looked forward to the challenge of regulating his adrenaline while playing in Boston.
“I really get into it when the crowd gets going. The hardest part for me is going to be to tune that out some,” Hanrahan told reporters. “Last year we had a lot of games in the middle of the summer where it was a sold-out crowd and it felt like it did in 2011 when we played the red sox there in Pittsburgh. Those are the moments that you live for — the situation that you dream of. To be able to experience that 81 games next year is going to be an awesome feeling, just being able to tone that down some in your head, that’s what you have to learn, I guess.”
The closer sounded an optimistic tone about the relief corps that he will now anchor. He detailed his excitement about working with fellow relievers such as Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Craig Breslow, Koji Uehara as well as Andrew Bailey — the player who conceded the closer’s role to Hanrahan.
“Andrew Bailey, if he comes back healthy, I think he’s got a lot to prove this year. He’s going to be coming back strong,” said Hanrahan.
As a group, Hanrahan suggested that he believes the Sox bullpen can rank among the game’s best. He expressed disappointment that an MLB Network examination of the top five bullpens in the game, which Hanrahan watched on the flight to Boston, did not include the Sox.
“We’ll have to work our way onto it,” said Hanrahan. “I think we belong there.”
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