PITTSBURGH -- Joel Hanrahan's miserable six-run seventh inning against the Brewers three months ago is not a distant memory, not even close.
"I wouldn't say that I put that outing behind me, I'd say I use it more as motivation," Hanrahan said. "These guys, they're coming up there trying to take food off your plate at all times, and you've got to go out there and take it personally and go out there and try to do your job, I guess. But I use that as motivation because, you can ask [Octavio] Dotel and [Brendan] Donnelly, we've all had games like that against Milwaukee, and we use that as motivation and try to work on it and try to get our numbers down as much as possible."
Hanrahan has done just that, giving up just 10 earned runs in 37 2/3 innings (38 appearances) since, lowering his ERA from 15.75 to 3.67. Take away that April 22 outing, which came in a Pirates' 20-0 loss, and Hanrahan's ERA is 2.43.
The 28-year-old right-hander struck out two in the ninth Thursday against the Brewers and has now tossed four scoreless innings in four appearances since the All-Star break, striking out six, walking none and allowing just two hits.
With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline fast approaching, Pirates manager John Russell has repeatedly said he likes what he has in his bullpen. Hanrahan isn't oblivious to the chatter, but his mindset remains the same.
"This time of the year, obviously, there's a lot of trade talks going on with everybody, and people joke about it and everything, and you got outside people coming in, like family members, asking questions," Hanrahan said. "It's nice not to see your name in there and then it is also flattering to see your name in trade rumors, too -- that teams are interested in you and other teams feel like you can help them in the playoff race. That's always fun, too, but it's one of those things you can't worry about. You just go out there and pitch."