Although Boston Red Sox reliever Joel Hanrahan was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, it was not all good news, as the team informed him he had lost his closer’s job.
WEEI’s Rob Bradford is reporting that Hanrahan, who was activated in time for Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, was notified by Boston manager John Farrell that he will not be used to close games in the immediate future. Instead, Andrew Bailey, who closed in Hanrahan’s absence, will continue to get the ball at the end of games.
MassLive.com’s Evan Drellich confirmed the story in a tweet:
Joel Hanrahan said John Farrell talked to him and in so many words, Andrew Bailey is closer. Hanrahan said he didnt know if temporary or not— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) April 30, 2013
He started the season out strongly with saves in his first three opportunities, but allowed five hits, four walks and six runs during his final three appearances before being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain.
He has an 11.57 ERA in six major league games so far this season.
During Hanrahan’s absence, the right-handed Bailey stepped up as a dominant force in the Boston bullpen. For the season, he has made 13 appearances and gone 1-0 with five saves and a 1.46 ERA. He has also struck out 20 batters in just 12.1 innings.
Hanrahan told Bradford that while he isn’t currently the closer, he doesn’t see it as having permanently lost his job:
I had a talk with Farrell for a little bit today and obviously I’ve been out of the game for 15 days so he’s going to kind of work me back in. Bailey has been doing a heck of a job. I told him I’m comfortable with whatever you want to do. The way the team is playing right now, I just want to fit in and do my part to help. I’m just excited to be back.
At 18-7, the Red Sox have roared into first place in the American League East out of the gate. Clearly, they want to continue going with the hot hand and seeing if they can sustain their success.
Who will Boston's closer be at the end of the season?
Hanrahan is taking the demotion well for now, telling Bradford, “There’s nothing different. My job is to go out there and put up a zero. It doesn’t matter what inning it is.”
Such a positive attitude will go a long way. Even though he won’t be closing games, Hanrahan can still give the Red Sox a major boost as a setup man if he starts pitching like he did at the beginning of the season.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference