FORT MYERS, Fla. — Joel Hanrahan last started a regular-season game in 2007, so pitching the top of the first was an unusual experience for Boston’s new closer.
About a half-hour before the Red Sox took on Northeastern in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday, Hanrahan wasn’t completely sure what to do.
“Should I get going? Should I wait? But I took it kind of as a real game when I was warming up,” he said. “I took my normal 18 pitches to get ready for a game, walked in the dugout, grabbed a drink of water and went out. It wasn’t bad.”
Hanrahan struck out two hitters in the first inning, and the Red Sox beat Northeastern 3-0 in the first exhibition game of spring training. They then routed Boston College 11-1 in the doubleheader’s second game.
Hanrahan was brought in to anchor the Boston bullpen this season, but the Red Sox gave him the start for the opener. Both games were seven innings.
Northeastern’s Aaron Barbosa led off with a two-strike single, and that was the only hit Hanrahan allowed. The right-hander also hit Jason Vosler with a pitch in his only inning.
“I was happy with how it went,” Hanrahan said. “I wasn’t planning on hitting that kid — poor guy. But I threw strikes for the most part so I was happy with that.”
Adding to the informal vibe, the Red Sox came out to bat in the bottom of the seventh against Northeastern even though they led 3-0. Boston tacked on two more runs, which weren’t included in the box score.
Boston used seven pitchers for an inning each in the opener, and none of them allowed more than one hit. Daniel Bard worked the second, allowing a single to his first batter before striking out the next three.