Joel Hanrahan listened when his body told him it was time to quit playing baseball.

After seven seasons in Major League Baseball, which included two All-Star Game appearances and a pair of Tommy John surgeries on his right elbow, the former Norwalk High School star announced his retirement Tuesday.

“Sometimes your body parts tell you when it’s time to go and my elbow said, look, I can do this but I can’t do it that good so it’s time,” Hanrahan said in a phone interview Tuesday with the Register.

The 35-year-old is calling it quits after 14 seasons of professional baseball, including seven in the major leagues with stints with the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox. Los Angeles picked him in the second round of the 2000 MLB Draft out of Norwalk High School, but he never played for the major league Dodgers.

Hanrahan compiled a 22-18 record with a 3.85 earned run average and 100 saves, a combined 76 of which came in 2011 and 2012 when he was the All-Star closer for the Pirates.

Hanrahan hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since a nine-game stint with the Red Sox in 2013. That season came to an abrupt end when he had the first of two Tommy John surgeries. The other came when he was attempting a comeback with the Detroit Tigers in 2015. Both surgeries were coupled with flexor tendon surgeries.

Hanrahan had recently been rehabbing in Texas, preparing for another comeback. He said he was growing tired of the rehab process not producing the results he expected, and could tell his stuff had changed during a recent game of catch with big league veteran Jordan Walden.

“I said, ‘Man, my ball is just not coming out like the same way his is,’” Hanrahan said. “I could see the life in his arm compared to the life in my arm. I knew at that point, my arm’s telling me that it’s not going to get back to where it needs to be to be competitive in professional baseball. I had kind of made up my mind before that but that kind of put the exclamation point on it and made the decision.”

Hanrahan told his mother about his decision to retire Monday, and broke the news to former teammate LaTroy Hawkins, who hosts a radio show.

“I’ve met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun,” Hanrahan said. “I’m not disappointed in my career. There’s nothing I can change. I did everything I could. Now it’s time to move on to the next stage.”

It’s unclear what that next stage may include, but he hopes to stay involved with baseball.

“I’d love to stay in the game because … I’ve kind of done it all,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got good insight that I could pass on to some young guys.”




Joel Hanrahan, a Major Leauge Baseball pitcher from Norwalk, stopped in to talk to Bryce about how he is doing after surgery, being an all-star and a dad, and how he proposed to his wife.