NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

January 9, 2013

Sox RP Hanrahan likes what he sees at Fenway

BOSTON (AP) — New Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan visited Fenway Park for first time in his life yesterday.

Hanrahan, a fan of baseball history, arranged a guided tour — complete with a contingent of media following close behind. He started with the home clubhouse, walked out to left field to see behind the wall where the manual scoreboard is operated, then scaled the wall to check out the view from the Green Monster seats.

“I thought, ‘This place is amazing,’” he said. “A lot bigger than I thought it was. Obviously a ton of history here.”

And the Red Sox expect Hanrahan to add to it.

Boston, which acquired him in a trade with the Pirates in December, introduced him yesterday at the classic ballpark.

“It’s a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be,” Hanrahan said. “Obviously, they’ve put some money into it over the years.”

Hanrahan, 31, who went 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves last year in Pittsburgh, has his work cut out for him in Boston. The Red Sox finished 2012 at 69-93, last in the American League East. They have not been to the postseason since 2009 when they were swept by the Angels in the ALDS.

In his last two seasons, he helped lead a bit of a baseball renaissance in Pittsburgh, where attendance and interest jumped at PNC Park. Though the Pirates faded in both seasons down the stretch, he still posted 76 saves and a 2.24 ERA.

He also recorded 128 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .205 batting average in that span, and was named a National League All-Star both seasons. He and Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel are the only pitchers to collect at least 35 saves and post an ERA under 3.00 in both seasons.

“I think any baseball fan wants the chance to play here,” he said, while also noting Boston’s rivalry with the Yankees. “They want a chance to play in that other place in New York (too). As a baseball player, and a fan, you want to experience that and I’m excited to get that feeling this year.”

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