Hanrahan Finds His Place In Columbus

The Washington Nationals signed Joel Hanrahan as a minor league free agent in November of 2006 and considered him to be a very strong pickup. He is beginning the season with Triple-A Columbus here in 2007, but it may not be long before he is contributing at the big league level.

A year ago Joel Hanrahan was opening the season with Jacksonville (Double- A) of the Southern League. As a starting pitcher he was 7-2 in 12 starts with a 2.48 ERA and fanned 67 in 66.1 IP. Then in June, he was promoted to Triple- A Las Vegas where he finished out the rest of the year.

In November of 2006, Hanrahan signed with the Washington Nationals as a minor league free agent. After spring training, he was sent to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. The transition has been a little different for Hanrahan.

"You know with the Dodgers I had been with them for 6 years so I knew pretty much knew everybody there," Hanrahan told CapitolDugout.com in a recent interview. "Then I come over here and I knew about two people. I'm starting to get to know the new people and the new area. I've never been up this way before, so it's taken awhile but now I'm starting to fit in."

Though Hanrahan hasn't been in Columbus very long and is one of the younger players on the team, he has learned a lot from the other Clippers players.

"There've been some guys that have been around the league for a few years so they give you tips," he explained. "They also bring a lot of veteran experience so it's good to sit around with them during the games and listen up and get some information and help."

Hanrahan has also had to get use to Cooper Stadium, where the Clippers play.

"Well, I've learned from my experience the other night as well as from the other players that you have to throw the ball to the inside in this ballpark because right field is a little short," he commented. "The ball carries out there a little bit and especially with this cold weather we're having, hitters don't like that too much."

The cold days and nights in Columbus hasn't affected Hanrahan's performance and neither has the switch between right and left handed hitters. He takes the same approach to both and has found a new changeup this past winter which has helped him out. While Hanrahan doesn't have a favorite pitch, his best pitch changes every game.

"Sometimes I'll have a good slider, sometimes a good change up, anytime you have that sync right on the hand, it's a good pitch," Hanrahan explained.

Many players have superstitions they follow whether it is before a game, when they come up to hit, or even when they pitch. Hanrahan is not big on superstitions but is known to do something unique.

"The only one thing that you might see that I do a little different than other people is that when they go out they usually jump over the foul line and for some reason I started jumping on the foul line and I do that all the time now."

With a couple of games under his belt, Hanrahan is excited for the rest of the season. He plans to not only help the Clippers win as many games as possible but also hopes to get a chance to hit the major league and help the Nationals out.

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