FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan is looking to incorporate his slider more for the 2012 season. And so far, his results have been impressive this spring. Over three appearances, Hanrahan has tossed three scoreless, hitless frames with one walk and six strikeouts.
The Pirates' closer relied on his slider a lot during the 2010 season to get guys out, but last year he didn't use it as much. His fastball, which clocks in the high 90's, was his weapon of choice for 2011.
"His slider -- the year before I got here, it was unbelievable," Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. "Last year he didn't use it as much. He tried throwing it a little bit later in some situations. The slider seems to be taking much better form early this year than at any time last year. He’s thrown a number of them already."
This spring, however, Hanrahan is reaping the benefit of using both.
"It's something that we wanted to try and hybrid the two guys," Hurdle said. "The fastball, when you’re h...