Red Sox deal for new closer

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Red Sox deal for new closer

From Comcast SportsNetBOSTON (AP) -- If Joel Hanrahan can do for the Boston Red Sox what he did against them, they should be very happy with their new closer.In the first of his two All-Star seasons, the right-hander posted back-to-back saves for the Pittsburgh Pirates with perfect ninth innings against the Red Sox in June 2011. He struck out Adrian Gonzalez, who entered the series batting .359, to end the second game."When people look back on me as a Pirate, that's the one that stands out the most to them," Hanrahan said Wednesday after being obtained in a six-player trade.People such as Red Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran."It definitely made an impression on me," he said. "It was not fun to be in the batter's box against Joel Hanrahan."Now American League hitters will see what it's like.Boston completed the deal Wednesday, also receiving infielder Brock Holt. The Red Sox gave up right-handers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. and first baseman-outfielder Jerry Sands.The Red Sox also announced the signing of free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, who agreed to a one-year contract early last week. The reported 9.5 million deal was contingent on Drew passing a physical. The former Oakland Athletic and Arizona Diamondback broke his ankle in 2011."We feel that he's going to be fully healthy for us," O'Halloran said.The acquisition of Drew and Hanrahan are the latest in a series of moves designed to improve on a 69-93 record and a last-place finish in the AL East. The Red Sox already have obtained right-handers Ryan Dempster and Koji Uehara, outfielders Shane Victorino and Johnny Gomes and catcher David Ross.Over the past two seasons, Hanrahan had 76 saves, fourth most in the National League, and a 2.24 ERA. Last season, he was 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves.The six-year veteran will take over the closer's role that Alfredo Aceves struggled in most of last season before giving way to Andrew Bailey, who had missed most of the season with a right thumb injury.In his first season with Boston, Bailey was 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA and six saves in nine opportunities over 19 games.Manager John Farrell has talked with Hanrahan and Bailey and told them that Hanrahan will be the closer, although "we see Andrew as playing a very important role," O'Halloran said.The Red Sox's search for a closer began when Jonathan Papelbon signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2011 season.Hanrahan figured he was part of that quest when he heard his name in trade rumors involving the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers."I got excited" when he learned of the trade, Hanrahan said. "Obviously, the Red Sox have a great history and tradition and it's a huge sports city."In six seasons, 2 12 with the Washington Nationals and 3 12 with the Pirates, he's 22-17 with a 3.74 ERA and 96 saves in 117 chances. His best season was 2011 when he went 1-4 with a 1.83 ERA, 40 saves in 44 opportunities and just 16 walks in 68 2-3 innings. His control slipped last season when he walked 36 in 59 2-3 innings.Hanrahan said hamstring and ankle problems affected his pitching mechanics."I don't think the walks are going to be a concern," he said. "I feel good going to spring training."Hanrahan said he's never been to Fenway Park, but O'Halloran doesn't think he'll have trouble adjusting to the American League."Joel Hanrahan has the stuff to pitch anywhere," he said.Holt spent most of last season at Double-A Altoona, then hit .292 in 24 games with the Pirates, all in September.Melancon was 0-2 with a 6.20 ERA in 41 relief appearances in his only season with Boston. Pimentel spent the season at Double-A Portland. Sands and DeJesus were obtained in a trade that sent Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers on Aug. 25.

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week. Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes, and highlights of that game will appear on that night’s High School Lites broadcast at 11 p.m. after Blackhawks hockey. The show also live streams at CSNChicago.com. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday.

This week, we spotlight the Chicago Public League’s Red-North conference. Who will get out to an early lead in division play?

Lane Tech at Uplift, 6:30 p.m.

Prosser at Lincoln Park, 6:30 p.m.

Von Steuben at Taft, 6:30 p.m.

Poll opens Monday at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m.

Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.

— Note the “pinned Tweet” atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.

— Spread the word!

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week, along with other basketball news, scores and highlights this season.

Big Ten poll update: Win over North Carolina boosts Hoosiers four spots in AP poll

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USA TODAY

Big Ten poll update: Win over North Carolina boosts Hoosiers four spots in AP poll

Indiana is back in the top 10 of the AP poll.

After avenging an embarrassing loss to Fort Wayne with a win over third-ranked North Carolina in last week's Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the Hoosiers jumped up four spots from No. 13 to No. 9 when the new AP top-25 rankings were released Monday morning.

Indiana sits at 7-1 with a very strange season to this point. The Hoosiers have wins over a pair of teams currently ranked in the top seven, No. 3 Kansas and No. 7 North Carolina, yet have that head-scratching defeat on the road against the aforementioned IPFW Mastodons.

Tom Crean's crew has five non-conference games left on the schedule, including matchups with 11th-ranked Louisville and 16th-ranked Butler.

Only two other Big Ten teams were ranked this week.

Wisconsin maintained the No. 17 spot despite scoring a pair of big home victories over Syracuse and Oklahoma. The Badgers are 7-2 with their only losses coming against teams currently ranked in the top 10, No. 7 North Carolina and No. 10 Creighton.

Purdue dropped three spots from No. 15 to No. 18 after suffering its second loss of the season against aforementioned Louisville last week. Again, the Boilers' two losses are of the utmost quality, coming against No. 1 Villanova and No. 11 Louisville.

Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan State and Minnesota also received votes in this week's poll.