New Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan has spent the last five seasons in the majors. But until Tuesday, he had never set foot in Fenway Park.
Hanrahan came up with the Nationals in 2007, a year after Washington played at Fenway. He was traded to the Pirates in 2009. When Pittsburgh played the Sox in 2011, it was at home.
Like anybody who appreciates baseball, Hanrahan enjoyed taking a look at Fenway.
“I thought this place was amazing,” he said. “A lot bigger than I thought it was. Obviously a ton of history here. 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.”
Kim Hanrahan was born in Virginia but spent time in the Brockton area while growing up and became a Red Sox fan.
“She’s been to a couple of games here,” Hanrahan said. “She’s been to one of the Red Sox-Yankees games here before. She said it’s awesome. The environment of a baseball game is completely different than any other place that she has been. It’ll be a fun experience.”
Hanrahan also saw the clubhouse and took a peek inside the scoreboard in left field before going up to the Monster Seats.
“It’s a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “Obviously they’ve put some money into it over the years. It’s bigger than I thought it was. I think it would be awesome to watch a game sitting in the stands. I’ll be a little closer getting to watch it. It’s definitely a pretty amazing sight to see.”
Hanrahan is spending a few days in Boston. He’ll find a place to live, meet with manager John Farrell, and generally get acclimated to his new team. The Sox obtained Hanrahan in a six-player trade with the Pirates last month.
Hanrahan has some familiarity with a few of his new teammates. He roomed with Shane Victorino in 2004 when both were Triple A players for the Dodgers in Las Vegas. He also has been working out in Dallas with Will Middlebrooks. In 2009, he played on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic with Dustin Pedroia.
“I’ll need to study up on the program before I go to spring training,” he said.
Hanrahan also touched on some other subjects:
• He will not be playing in the WBC again. His first child is due in March, that’s the main reason. But Hanrahan also wants to spend the entire spring with the Sox, getting to know the team. “I want to get know everybody and get to know the coaches and let them get to know me as well,” he said.
• Hanrahan, who seemed at ease during a press gathering, expressed no trepidation about coming to a large-market team.
“I’m sure I’m going to say some dumb things. I’m going to say some stupid things. People are going to go crazy on Twitter with it. It’ll be written,” he said. “I know that’s going to happen and I’ll be fine.”
• Hanrahan likes the potential of the Red Sox bullpen, saying he has always been impressed with Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Craig Breslow, Koji Uehara, and Andrew Bailey.
Daniel Bard is “another big arm,” according to Hanrahan.
Hanrahan is cognizant of the situation with Bailey, who was obtained to be the closer last season, then missed much of the season with a thumb injury.
Hanrahan doesn’t know Bailey. He called a mutual friend, former Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy, to ask about his new teammate.
“[McCarthy] said he’s going to be a great guy. He thinks that we’ll get along great,” Hanrahan said. “All you can do is root for each other to have success and pull for the team. That’s what we’re going to do, I believe.
“He was in a tough spot. Any time you injure your hand in spring training, that’s not fun. Especially coming over to a new team. I’m sure he’s got to prove this year.”
• Hanrahan was asked about the perception that he might not be able to succeed in Boston after coming from the National League.
“That’s fine,” he said. “You can say that, but you have to go back and look [at the track record]. My job is to get three people out in the ninth inning before I give up a lead.
“I feel like I’ve been in some big games. I feel like I’ve been in some tough spots. I’m not going to go out there and strike out the side every time. That’s not the kind of pitcher that I am. I’m going to come after guys.
“No matter where you go, you’re going to have doubters anyway. I try not to pay attention to that. My job is to go out there and save the victory for the team. If we have a three-run lead [and] I give up two runs in that game, I’m going to be the same guy. I’ll be happy that we won that game.”