The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Hansen stings D-Rays

Former St. John’s closer Craig Hansen, drafted 26th overall by the Boston Red Sox in June, was promoted to the majors Monday afternoon and made his debut that night against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The right-hander pitched a scoreless fifth inning, striking out Toby Hall and Julio Lugo in the process, getting his fastball up to as much as 97 miles per hour in the process.

“The past couple of days, I visualized myself out there and what it would be like,” Hansen said. “It was a great experience. I wish the team came out on top. It’s very exciting to come up, especially around this time with the Boston Red Sox being in the playoff race, and to come down here and be a part of it.”

Hansen, who was signed to a reported four-year, $4 million contract in early August, spent about a week with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox before being called up to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs on Aug. 11.

The Glen Cove, L.I. native did not give up a run in 11 innings with the Sea Dogs, in between being held out for about two weeks with a tired arm.

The 6-foot-5 Hansen can get his fastball to the mid- to high-90s and his nasty, hard-breaking slider can reach as high as 90 miles per hour.

He was taught a change-up by Red Sox pitching coach Dave Wallace last season while he pitched for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League.

“He’s going to be a huge part of the Red Sox,” said Boston manager Terry Francona. “I think it’s important for his development to be here now. Anytime he pitches can’t hurt his development. Being here for two weeks will do nothing but help in the spring. Regardless of how much he pitches, this is going to be good for him.”

Sox starting pitcher David Wells, who lasted only 2.2 innings in Monday’s 8-7 Boston loss was also impressed by the former Red Storm reliever’s performance.

“The guy pitched pretty stellar,” said Wells. “If he pitches in like that, guys aren’t going to lean in, and he’s going to have a pretty good career. One game doesn’t do anything, but if he keeps doing it on a consistent basis, he’s going to be fun to watch for a long time.”

Before entering the draft in June, Hansen was named the Big East Pitcher of the Year, the first St. John’s player to earn the award as the league’s top hurler since C.J. Nitkowski won it 1994.

The junior closer saved 14 games – which ranked second in the nation – for the Red Storm last season, extending his school record for career saves to 26. He finished the season with a 3-2 record and a 1.68 earned run average.

Hansen notched eight saves last year in league games, tying the Big East single-season record and also became the league’s all-time saves leader with 14 saves in conference contests.

Hansen struck out 85 batters in 64.1 innings of work, while registering an opponent batting average of .173.

In his last appearance for the Red Storm, Hansen started against Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, his first start since his freshman year, going seven innings and allowing three runs on eight hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

“I thought he handled himself terrific,” Francona said of his newest reliever. “His stuff speaks for itself.”


Though the St. John’s baseball team could not advance past the Corvallis Regional of the NCAA Tournament last season, Joe Burke, a senior on last year’s team who was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft now has a New York-Penn League championship under his belt with the Staten Island Yankees.

Not only did the 6-foot, 195-pound catcher steal third base and get a hit in his only at-bat, but he ended up scoring the winning run in a 3-2 win over the Auburn Doubledays to give Staten Island its first championship since the 2000 season.

Burke ended his season with a .220 average with only one homer and thirteen RBIs, but was solid in the field by committing only one error in 37 games. The Brooklyn native batted .341 with 41 RBIs for St. John’s this past season.

Charles Blair contributed to this story.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *