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New closer Hanrahan gets his first look at Fenway

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New closer Hanrahan gets his first look at Fenway play video for New closer Hanrahan gets his first look at Fenway
BOSTON -- Somehow through his five-plus years of Major League service time, new Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan had never set foot in the historic baseball venue called Fenway Park.

But that changed on Tuesday, as the affable righty, acquired in a Dec. 26 trade with the Pirates, went on a guided tour of the 100-year-old shrine.

"I thought this place was amazing," Hanrahan said. "A lot bigger than I thought it was. Obviously, there's a ton of history here. I got to go up on the top of the [Green] 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, but it looked great. I got to go in the clubhouse for the first time and see where my new office is. I'm excited. It looks great."

From the clubhouse to the Monster to the snow-covered playing surface to the press box, Hanrahan got familiar with the place he will call home in 2013, and perhaps beyond.

"The Nationals came in '07, I think, about two weeks before I got called up," Hanrahan said. "We played Boston when I was with the Pirates [in '11], but we played them in Pittsburgh. Other than that, it's one of the places I've never been to."

Once Hanrahan visits Anaheim, Minnesota and Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field this summer, he will be able to check all 30 current ballparks off his to-do list.

But it's in Boston where he looks forward to planting some roots and making an impact in the American League East race.

"Any baseball fan wants the chance to play here," said Hanrahan. "As a baseball player and a fan, you want to experience that, and I'm excited to get that feeling every day this year."

Because of Fenway's century-long history, Hanrahan was taken aback a bit by the ballpark's more modern side. His new employers will be happy to hear that, since the Red Sox have spent millions renovating the place over the past decade-plus.

"You know what? It's a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be," Hanrahan said. "Obviously, they've put some money into it over the years. It's bigger than I thought it was. I think it'd be awesome to watch a game sitting in the stands, but I'll be a little bit closer getting to watch it. It's definitely a pretty amazing sight to see."

After saving 76 games for the Pirates the past two years, Hanrahan is excited to see how his arsenal will play in Fenway Park, and, in particular, the AL East.

"My job is to get people out in the ninth inning before I give up a lead," Hanrahan said. "I feel like I've been in some big games and 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 and give up some hits and stuff like that, but no matter where you go, you're going to have doubters. I just try not to pay attention to that. My job is to save the victory for the team."

Of course, part of pitching in a big market means dealing with a big media, but Hanrahan's easygoing personality should help make that an easy transition.

"I'm not too worried about it," he said. "I'm a pretty laid-back guy. I've always felt like I've had a good relationship with the media, I've been open to them. Sometimes I used to give the guys in Pittsburgh a hard time about some of the attire they would walk into our clubhouse with, and I always felt it's part of our job to be open and talk to the media as well. I'm sure I'm going to say some dumb things. I'm going to say some stupid things and people are going to go crazy on Twitter with it and it's going to be written, and I know that's going to happen and I'll be fine."

You can find Hanrahan on Twitter as well -- @hanrahan52 is his handle. Many Red Sox fans have already found him there.

"A lot of people are excited to have me -- or at least tell me they're excited to have me," Hanrahan said. "A lot of my friends from back home are Red Sox fans as well and they were all over me asking me what number I was going to be so they could get their jerseys ordered. I've definitely had a lot of people, Pittsburgh fans saying they're having a hard time looking at my Twitter picture and following me on Twitter. That's part of the business, I guess."

While social media might be a nice diversion for Hanrahan, his main business will be blowing the ball by opposing hitters.

But he thinks he'll have plenty of help doing that in the late innings.

"Obviously I was looking at it. Andrew Miller is one guy that has been a guy to watch. [Franklin] Morales has a big arm. I feel like [Craig] Breslow has been getting people out for 12 years now," said Hanrahan. "[Koji] Uehara has had a great career. Andrew Bailey, I think if he comes back healthy, he's got a lot to prove so he'll come out strong. I'm not sure what the plans are with [Daniel] Bard, but that's another big arm.

"There's a lot of arms down there that can get the job done at any time. I was looking at something on the plane here where MLB Network had the top five bullpens, and I was thinking they might throw us on there, but we'll have to work our way on to it. I think we belong there."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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