Closer role still undecided
The Pirates still have not decided who will close out games during the 2011 season: Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek.
“They haven’t said anything,” said Meek, here at Pirate City for a weeklong voluntary minicamp. “In terms of [management officials] making their decision, they have haven’t said anything, but it isn’t something that should keep you up at night. Whether it is the eighth or ninth inning that I end up working, you still need to go out and get three outs. You know that as a person who does what I do.”
“If they’ve got their mind up already about who the closer is going to be, I don’t know,” Hanrahan said. ”I’m just trying to get ready for spring training. I’d be happy with doing either one, working the eighth or ninth. I know I’d be fine with whatever role it is, just as long as we are getting the opportunities. If we get the opportunities, that means we are winning games and, really, that’s the main concern around here.”
General Manager Neal Huntington has said they are discussing the role, and would name a closer before spring training starts (pitchers and catchers report February 13th, first workout for all players is on the 19th). It’s also not his main priority in mid-January.
“We have talked in generalities of choosing one or the other for those specific roles. We have talked in generalities of using both. Clint and I need to spend some more time, in the future, talking about this because I know both guys, Evan and Joel, are hungry to pitch.”
“This is not something that we have to answer right now, but this is something that we want to have an answer to before spring training,” Huntington said. We won’t have a competition for the closer … during spring training. Whoever is our closer, is our closer.”
After Octavio Dotel was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July, both Hanrahan and Meek split closing duties; Joel picking up six, Evan four.
The guys in the pen, however, are used to routine and the uncertainty of who would pitch in the ninth did effect them.
“It was different,” Hanrahan said of last season. “Everyone likes to have a role and know when exactly the situations are that they Dere going to come into a game. Last year was different. We’d kind of sit there and look at each other, and then the phone rang [in the bullpen] and sometimes that is how we found out who was going to work. It was just different.”
Both have said they would they would be happy being the closer, but there is no adversarial between them.
“You just learn to control the things that you can control. That is all you can do,” Meek said. “And, after that, you let everything else just be. That is something you learn the more you play this game.”