Trade talk doesn't faze Bucs closer Hanrahan

| Monday, Dec. 19, 2011

This offseason wasn't the first time Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan has heard his name come up in trade rumors.

By the time his name surfaced a few weeks ago in advance of the winter meetings as a possible addition to the Boston Red Sox, Hanrahan was more than accustomed to hearing — and paying little mind to - such talk.

"It's nothing new, been through it before," he said. "It's nice seeing your name, but I enjoy Pittsburgh, I like it here and I want to be here for a while. It's not like I was sitting there looking at trade rumors thinking, 'This team's looking for a closer, this team's looking for a closer.' It's always nice to hear that someone likes you, but I wasn't expecting anything to happen."

Hanrahan, who's getting married next month and is one of several Pirates players with weddings this offseason, was in Pittsburgh for PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. During a question-and-answer session Saturday with fans, he was the object of several queries. One fan asked manager Clint Hurdle if he'd use Hanrahan for more than traditional three-out save situations this year. Hanrahan also was asked whether pitchers get nervous before games.

The 30-year-old closer informed the crowd that he uses the bathroom about three times per game before adding, "I'm sure everyone wanted to know that."

He also tweeted during an autograph session that he had just signed a kid's forehead.

When the 2012 trade deadline approaches, Hanrahan hopes his name won't be part of rumors because the Pirates will be adding to the roster instead of vice versa.

"I expect us to be in the same position we were at last year at the trade deadline, going out and buying people, not trying to get rid of people," he said. "You have to believe that and believe we're going to be there in contention and that's all you can worry about."

In other items from PirateFest:

> > Hanrahan admitted the departure of Albert Pujols from the National League Central to the American League does leave him with one less obstacles heading into 2012. "Losing one of the best hitters in the game, I didn't shed a tear, I'll put it that way," he said. "But the Cardinals still have a solid lineup, and they're still the world champions."

> > Moving PirateFest from January to December this year proved to be a good decision. The three-day attendance total was 16,574, the second-largest turnout since the event moved to the convention center in 2003. The attendance record of 16,839 was set last year.

"The near-record turnout this weekend at PirateFest, in addition to the large crowds throughout the region on the caravan, has been outstanding," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. "The move to nearly double the show floor from previous years greatly enhanced the fan experience. Our fans appreciated the increase in the number of activities, shorter lines and more lounge areas. The fan excitement from last season has carried over into the offseason events and has our players and everyone within the organization enthusiastic for the upcoming season."

> > The Pirates announced they have seen an increase in season ticket sales of more than 40 percent for 2012. Individual tickets went on sale Saturday with the opening series against Philadelphia, the weekend interleague series against the Detroit Tigers, the two Skyblast games and the game featuring a Daughtry concert being in highest demand. Only single seats and standing-room-only tickets remain for Opening Day.

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