Joel Hanrahan Reflects on ‘Tough’ Season, Says He Was ‘Big Cheerleader’ During Red Sox’ World Series Run

Joel HanrahanJoel Hanrahan is in the same boat as Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He’s a World Series champion, and he’s currently a free agent. But Hanrahan’s 2013 season wasn’t quite as glorious as the campaigns enjoyed by his Boston brethren.

Hanrahan was acquired last offseason in a trade with the Pirates. He was slated to be the Red Sox’ closer but pitched in just nine games before going down with an injury that required season-ending arm surgeries. While Hanrahan visited Boston every now and then throughout the year to visit with the club’s medical staff, he spent much of his time at his Dallas-area home — a long way away from the action of a World Series run.

“The hardest part for me was I really wanted to come and be part of the playoffs, but I also didn’t want to look like, ‘Oh, we’re in the playoffs and now he wants to be part of the celebration,’ something like that,” Hanrahan told WEEI.com. “My focus is trying to get healthy and I didn’t want to take time away from the trainers who are trying to keep the guys on the field who are playing. I didn’t want to be in the way. It was tough for me, but it was a whole heck of a lot of fun watching at home and seeing the success they had.”

Hanrahan made his final appearance of 2013 on May 6 — nearly six months prior to the Red Sox’ World Series celebration — so while Boston’s title run technically represented the right-hander’s first trip to the postseason, it certainly wasn’t how he pictured everything unfolding.

“To be the first time I was ever in the playoffs, and to see them win the World Series, I was a big cheerleader,” Hanrahan reportedly said. “But it’s not how you envision your first playoff run or your first World Series championship. It was different being at home, sitting watching the games with my wife or my friends. But that’s just the hand I was dealt this year. It just makes me want to work harder to get a chance to get back to the playoffs.”

Hanrahan, who has enjoyed physical improvement throughout his rehab process, reportedly said that he’s received phone calls from a handful of teams regarding his status for next season. At this point, it’s unclear what the 32-year-old’s future holds, but it sounds as if he’ll be forever grateful for his short stint in Boston.

“The Red Sox treated me very well for the time I was there,” Hanrahan reportedly said. “The check-ups I had with them and the contact the training staff had with my therapist were awesome. To see they cared that much about somebody who may or may not be back or wasn’t signed for a second year. … To see them care that much was a great thing. We’ll just have to see what’s going to happen. I haven’t closed any books or opened any new ones. I’m just kind of out here waiting to see how everything plays out.”

The Red Sox did not offer Hanrahan a $14.1 million qualifying offer, although he reportedly feels as though he’s ahead of his scheduled 12-15-month recovery.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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