Hanrahan aiming to be 40-40 man for Pirates

Hanrahan aiming to be 40-40 man for Pirates

HOUSTON -- As a reporter approached him early Saturday afternoon in the visitors' clubhouse of Minute Maid Park, Joel Hanrahan, more bemused than upset, preempted any questioning by declaring, "I'm not getting traded."

This will come as comforting news to fans of the Pirates, who haven't actively considered dealing their closer anyway. This being Trade Deadline season however, Hanrahan's name had found its way into the craziness simply because he is a valuable entry in a rare commodity and other GMs are calling their Pittsburgh counterpart about relief help. That does not mean Neal Huntington has to listen.

So Hanrahan can look forward to opening a new frontier for Pittsburgh relief pitchers. With his Major League-leading 31 saves following up his 40-save season of 2011, he has already become only the second Pirates pitcher to post 30-plus in consecutive seasons, joining Kent Tekulve, who did it in 1978-79.

"It's not something you shoot for or have in mind," Hanrahan said. "But now that I'm there, it's nice company to be in.

"Has anyone put 40 back-to-back?"

Told no, that Tekulve had 31 saves each of those seasons and that there have been only two separate 40-save seasons in club history (Mike Williams' club record 46 in 2002, and Jose Mesa's 43 in 2004), Hanrahan said, "Well, I guess then that's next."

His last three saves had come consecutively in the Pirates' previous three games. As a result, he definitely was not in play for Saturday night's game.

"I'm surprised he's even at the park," said manager Clint Hurdle.