Pirates reliever looks forward to new season

Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan knows a new year means new excitement for baseball.Hanrahan was part of the Pirates Caravan which visited Ridgway Area Middle School Tuesday to promote the upcoming season.“It’s cool. I’m sure these kids don’t get the opportunity too often to see the players," Hanrahan said. “It’s nice to see the support we have from the fans this far out. It’s nice to be able to come out. We prepare all winter for the new season. Once New Year’s comes around we get excited and get ready to go. We’re getting ready for that and building the excitement with the kids again in northern Pennsylvania.” Hanrahan had a 4-1 record with a 3.62 ERA last season with the Pirates. He started his career with the Washington Nationals in 2007 and was traded to the Pirates during the 2009 season. He has a career record of 16-11 with a 4.45 ERA He also has 20 saves and could be a presence in the back end of the bullpen this season along with fellow reliever Evan Meek. “The only thing that matters is that we’re winning games. If you’re not winning games then it doesn’t matter what role you’re in,” Hanrahan said. “Obviously, there’s no competition going on right now, we don’t think about that. It’s up to them to decide what they want to do. We just go out there and play and try to win games.”Hanrahan said the fans are knowledgeable about baseball. He makes his off-season home in Dallas, near where Super Bowl XLV will be held.“I like the fans here. Living in Dallas, I get to watch the Steelers in the Super Bowl,” Hanrahan said. Hanrahan has met with new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle during the off-season.“We were down at mini-camp, he was there with us. I actually met him at a football game in Pittsburgh. He brings a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm to the team. I look forward to getting started,” Hanrahan said.The reliever thinks a team game will be imperative to getting back on the winning track.“Everybody going out there, competing, playing hard for all nine innings and doing their job that they need to do that day and playing a team game. Once we play with a team game, then we’ll have a better chance of winning,” Hanrahan said.