Save boosts Hanrahan's confidence

Save boosts Hanrahan's confidence

PITTSBURGH -- The post-Octavio Dotel era officially began on Tuesday when, to the tune of AC/DC, Joel Hanrahan ran in from the bullpen to save a one-run game.

He got the job done, too, with little incident, closing the game with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his first save since May 24, 2009.

"[I was] a little nervous. I'm not going to lie," Hanrahan said. "It's been a while since I've been in that save situation, and for some reason, that ninth inning's just a little bit different. I've never known why, but anytime you go out there for your first save of the year it's a little bit different."

Manager John Russell has not named Hanrahan the team's new closer, but Hanrahan will continue to get opportunities, as will right-hander Evan Meek. The job isn't new territory for Hanrahan, who served as the Nationals' closer for some time before being traded to Pittsburgh last June.

His first test as a closer late in the 2008 season went well, though the same couldn't be said for Hanrahan's attempt at securing the job in '09. Hanrahan blew as many saves (5) as he collected with the Nationals last season. Used often as Washington's primary ninth-inning arm, Hanrahan posted a 7.71 ERA.

His history in the role may not be all that impressive, but Hanrahan doesn't care. As he has confidently repeated, he feels like he's a different pitcher now.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself when I was in Washington," he said. "A couple bad games here or there and I was trying to lower my ERA every time I went out there. Now, I just go out there with confidence in the role that I'm in now and believe in myself. It's kind of the same thing you've got to do if you go into that role."