It's official: Red Sox acquire Hanrahan in six-player trade

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It's official: Red Sox acquire Hanrahan in six-player trade

UPDATE: Red Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran told media members on Wednesday that Joel Hanrahan will be the team's closer, not Andrew Bailey.

The Red Sox got their closer for Christmas -- okay, a day later -- as they officially acquired Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates on Wednesday as part of a six-player trade.

The Sox sent two of the players they acquired from the Dodgers in last summer's salary dump -- first basemanoutfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan De Jesus -- to Pittsburgh, along with pitchers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimental. In addition, the Sox acquired infielder Brock Holt in the deal.

Hanrahan, 31, is the centerpiece of the trade. He's a two-time All-Star who recorded the fourth-highest total of saves (76) in the National League over the last two seasons, while compiling a 2.24 ERA and holding opponents to a .205 average against (.187 in 2012). Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2008, Hanrahan has struck out 393 batters in 346 13 innings, an average of 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.

A second-round draft choice of the Dodgers in 2000, Hanrahan was signed as a minor-league free agent by the Nationals after the 2006 season and made his big-league debut in '07. He was traded to the Pirates in '09.

Hanrahan has one year remaining on his contract and is eligible to become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Melancon, one of the players headed to Pittsburgh, was a candidate to serve as Boston's closer in 2012 when he was acquired from Houston in a trade that sent Jed Lowrie to the Astros. But he fell back into a setup role when the Sox picked up Andrew Bailey from the A's, then pitched himself out of Boston's plan with a dismal '12 season (0-2, 1 save, 6.20 ERA in 45 innings). None of the other players traded by the Sox, save for possibly Pimental, is seen as having anything more than fringe major-league potential.

Holt, 24, is a lifetime .317 hitter in four minor-league seasons. A shortstopsecond baseman, he hit .292 (19-for-65) in 24 games with the Pirates at the end of last seson.

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”