Hanrahan discusses his third season in Pittsburgh
Reliever Joel Hanrahan chatted with the Des Moines Resister about his third season in Pittsburgh.
On having his high school jersey retired last month: “It was awesome. It’s something I didn’t really see coming,” Hanrahan said of the honor. “I wasn’t always the best player in high school. It’s a huge honor to have Norwalk do that for me. It was a fun experience. I’m very thankful for everyone coming out and for Norwalk to do that for me.”
[Be sure to read my post from the night of his jersey retiring.]
On staying under control during the ninth inning: “You’ve got to slow the game down when you get out there,” he said. “Sometimes you want to get those last three outs as quick as possible and get on the road, get out of the clubhouse.”
“You’ve got to be mentally strong so you can block out the crowd and do your job,” he said. “If you’re at home they’re excited to see a win. And on the road they start chanting and you’ve got somebody like Albert Pujols coming up with a runner on base and you’re up by one run. You’ve got to block all that out, worry about making your pitches and getting them out.”
On the role of set-up man and closer: “It’s the same mentality,” Hanrahan said. “You just go out there to keep our team in the game. The starters take a lot of pride in what they do. You don’t want to go out there and blow a game for them or blow a game for the team.
“There’s pride in yourself, too. You don’t want to be a goat that day. Your job is to go out there and hold the game and that’s what I tried to do.”
On a career high 100 strikeout season: “I always like strikeouts and it helps me understand that I can get anybody out if I need to,” he said. “If I get into a slump it’ll give me the confidence to know that I can get out of it.
“I learned a lot last year about what having confidence will do for you. I went out there that I wasn’t going to get beat that day. I think that really helped me out. And that’s something I’m going to build on this year.”
On playing in Pittsburgh and expecting to have a winning record: “That’s our goal – to go out there and win,” he said. “If we didn’t think we could win why would we go out there? All our young guys got a lot of experience last year and we’re looking for them to continue what they did last season, if not improve.
“We feel like we have a chance to go out there and win, and that’s our goal. We’ll go out there and compete for nine innings every game.”
“The stadium there in Pittsburgh is amazing. It’s definitely in the top three places that I’ve played in – home or road,” he said. “Fans there are really good. We’re just waiting for the day when we get a winning team.