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Red Sox RP Hanrahan likes what he sees at Fenway

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Red Sox RP Hanrahan likes what he sees at Fenway

BOSTON (AP) New Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan visited Fenway Park for first time in his life Tuesday.

Hanrahan, a fan of baseball history, arranged a guided tour - complete with a contingent of media following close behind. He started with the home clubhouse, walked out to left field to see behind the wall where the manual scoreboard is operated, then scaled the wall to check out the view from the Green Monster seats.

``I thought, `This place is amazing,''' he said. ``A lot bigger than I thought it was. Obviously a ton of history here.''

And the Red Sox expect Hanrahan to add to it.

Boston, which acquired him in a trade with the Pirates in December, introduced him on Tuesday at the classic ballpark.

``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.''

Hanrahan, 31, who went 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves last year in Pittsburgh, has his work cut out for him in Boston. The Red Sox finished 2012 at 69-93, last in the American League East. They have not been to the postseason since 2009 when they were swept by the Angels in the ALDS.

In his last two seasons, he helped lead a bit of a baseball renaissance in Pittsburgh, where attendance and interest jumped at PNC Park. Though the Pirates faded in both seasons down the stretch, he still posted 76 saves and a 2.24 ERA.

He also recorded 128 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .205 batting average in that span, and was named a National League All-Star both seasons. He and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel are the only pitchers to collect at least 35 saves and post an ERA under 3.00 in both seasons.

``I think any baseball fan wants the chance to play here,'' he said, while also noting Boston's rivalry with the Yankees. ``They want a chance to play in that other place in New York (too). As a baseball player, and a fan, you want to experience that and I'm excited to get that feeling this year.''

Along with Angel Stadium, Target Field (Twins), and U.S Cellular Field (White Sox), Fenway is one of the four ballparks the right-hander has never pitched in.

Last season, Red Sox relievers posted a combined record of 21-21 with a 3.88 ERA, better than only three other American League teams. The total of 35 saves - better than only the Blue Jays' 29 in the AL - was one behind Hanrahan's total for the season

Either way, Hanrahan believes the Boston bullpen has potential.

``Andrew Miller's always been one of those guys to watch for to see what he's going to do,'' he said. ``There's a lot of arms that could get the job done at any time.

``I was looking at something on the plane where MLB Network had the top five bullpens and I was thinking they might throw us on there (too). We'll have to work our way onto there.

``But we belong there.''

Hanrahan, who pitched for the Nationals as well, is eager to make the jump to the AL, regardless of what people say about it.

``My job is to get three people out in the ninth inning before I give up the lead so I feel like I've been in some big games,'' he said. ``I feel like 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 I'm going to give up some hits and stuff like that. But no matter where you go, you're going to have doubters.

``So, I just try not to pay attention to that. My job is to go out there and save the victory for the team, and if we have a three-run lead, and I give up two runs, and we win that game, I'm going to be the same guy. I'm going to be happy that we won that game, and I think my laid-back personality will back that. And I like to have fun, too.''

One of the most memorable moments in his career, Hanrahan said, was on June 25, 2011, at PNC Park. Hanrahan, who likes to feed off the crowd, struck out then-Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez with the Pirates leading by two runs and a runner on second to end the game. The Pirates won two of three games in that interleague series. Hanrahan saved both victories.

``Every strikeout, to me, is awesome,'' he said. ``In 2011, that was the time that the Pirates, everyone knew their history and we were right there in the middle of it. That was a big series for us. That kind of showed us that we could play with anybody at the time.

``So, I think that's one of the things people remember.''

He hopes to create even more memories with his new team ... in his new park.

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Derrius Guice out for Week 15 vs. Eagles as he awaits MRI results

Derrius Guice out for Week 15 vs. Eagles as he awaits MRI results

The injuries just keep coming for Derrius Guice.

The second-year running back will miss the Redskins Week 15 contest against Philadelphia after suffering a left knee injury against Green Bay, interim head coach Bill Callahan announced on Monday. The injury is on the same knee that Guice tore his ACL in just a year ago that caused him to miss the entire 2018 season.

The severity of the injury is still unclear. Guice underwent an MRI on his knee earlier on Monday. The team is still waiting for the results.

Guice missed eight weeks earlier this season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee during the Redskins Week 1 loss in Philadelphia. He was placed on injured reserve and returned in Week 11.

Entering Sunday's contest, Guice was coming off the best game of his young career. In Week 13, the second-year veteran ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries in the Redskins' victory over Carolina.

Guice seemed on his way to another big game in Green Bay before getting hurt. He finished with 42 yards on just five carries, including a 23-yard run, the play he suffered the injury on.

The LSU product has shown flashes of how good he can be, but injuries keep occurring for Guice. He's played in five NFL games in his two-year career and been forced to leave the game early in three of those.

Whether the injuries are just a series of bad luck or not, the Redskins need Guice to stay healthy.

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    Davey Martinez is unfazed by entering the third - and perhaps final - year of his contract

    Davey Martinez is unfazed by entering the third - and perhaps final - year of his contract

    SAN DIEGO -- Davey Martinez has been busy. His rural retreat, usually well-used by this stage of the offseason, has sat empty. He spent time with his kids in Tampa in between declining appearance requests. He tried to get his life back in order for the last five weeks. Time to himself has not been part of the process. Nor has anything but positive feelings.

    “It’s been awesome,” Martinez said. “Really has. Something that I wake up in the morning and think about everything that transpired and how we got to where we got to and the final moment... That, to me, never gets old.”

    Relaxed in a dress shirt and sport coat, Martinez started Monday with interviews by the reporters pool at the Winter Meetings. Two of his former players -- Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon -- are among the prime focuses of the event. Future contracts are what the meetings become about. Martinez is now included in that topic.

    He’s entering the third, and final, year of his three-year deal. The Nationals hold an option for a fourth year. Martinez said he is not thinking about it.

    “No,” Martinez said. “I really haven’t. For me, I feel blessed I got an opportunity to do what I do. I know I’m coming back. Now, I’m just getting some time off and getting ready for spring training.”

    Martinez entering his third year is notable. Managers of the Nationals rarely make it there. Manny Acta started a third season as manager. Davey Johnson handled two-plus seasons as manager. No one has made it through three full seasons since baseball returned to the District. And, who would have thought Martinez would?

    Year One was a mess. The Nationals missed the playoffs, Martinez appeared off-kilter at times, and injuries doomed the season as much as under-performance. A mere 82 wins followed, the fewest since 2011. 

    The pressure was high before the failed season. Washington’s ownership chose Martinez specifically over bringing back Dusty Baker. Why? Because advancing to the first round was not enough. Only the World Series was acceptable. Martinez, with vast major-league life experience and zero managerial experience, was charged with guiding the team to a spot its owners and payroll expected. The team barely won more than it lost.

    Then May of 2019 hit. The 19-31 nadir following multiple embarrassments in New York, against the Mets of all teams, pushed Martinez’s employment status toward the edge. He said then it wasn’t on his mind, though at the time he was unsure how to fix expansive bullpen problems. Managing principal owner Mark Lerner said during the postseason he never considered firing Martinez. Both are difficult to believe as 100% truths. 

    As the team turned, so did the view of Martinez. The postseason performed as a breakthrough for both. Washington finally made it out of the first round of the postseason. Martinez’s decision-making worked and worked again, all the way through Game 7 of the World Series. By the end, narratives flipped. The team which couldn’t play well when it mattered most completed a comeback-filled championship run. The manager so many wanted to push out, became a man of the people, drifting into the streets during the championship parade.

    Another year is coming. Davey Martinez remains the manager of the Washington Nationals. He’s into his third year and, barring disaster, appears set to make it to the end, which would be more history for the organization.

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