Joel Hanrahan has been placed on bereavement leave by the Pittsburgh Pirates due to the death of his grandmother. Hanrahan’s grandmother passed away Wednesday and the Pirates are expecting their closer to be away from the team until Sunday. To replace Hanrahan on their roster, the Pirates have recalled right-handed reliever Daniel McCutchen.
Hanrahan took over as Pittsburgh’s closer last season, and turned in quite the performance. Over his 70 appearances, Hanrahan maintained an ERA and WHIP of 1.83 and 1.049 with a SO/9 of 8.0 and a BB/9 of 2.1 while compiling 40 saves. Hanrahan’s impressive totals earned him his first All-Star appearance.
Hanrahan’s 2012 season hasn’t gone as smoothly as his 2011 campaign, as the right-hander has posted an ERA and WHIP of 4.22 and 1.313 over his first 11 appearances spanning 10 2/3 innings.
If the Pirates continue to play as they are, many expect that Hanrahan could become available later this summer. Clubs could be intrigued by his 2011 totals, but the Pirates are hoping Hanrahan can return to form as the trade deadline approaches.
McCutchen came up as a starting pitcher but was converted into a reliever last season. Over his 73 appearances for the Pirates in 2011, McCutchen maintained an ERA and WHIP of 3.72 and 1.417. McCutchen began the 2012 season with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate, where he’s posted an ERA and WHIP of 2.49 and 1.154.
While Hanrahan is on bereavement leave, the Pirates figure to use veteran reliever Juan Cruz as their stand in at closer. Despite carrying a 1.500 WHIP over his first 13 appearances for the Pirates this season, Cruz has only surrendered a single run over his first 12 innings of work.
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