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05/06/09 10:40 PM ET

Nats give Hanrahan late-inning chances

Acta says displaced closer deserves another opportunity

LOS ANGELES -- Add right-hander Joel Hanrahan as part of the Nationals' closer-by-committee. Manager Manny Acta said Hanrahan deserves another chance to be a late-inning reliever after throwing 3 2/3 shutout innings in his past four games. Acta hasn't ruled Hanrahan out as the closer again.

Hanrahan started the season as the closer but lost his job after blowing his third save against the Phillies on April 27. During the month of April, Hanrahan gave up eight runs in nine innings.

Since that rough outing against the Phillies, Hanrahan pitched in non-pressure-packed games until Tuesday, when he pitched the 11th inning in a 10-10 suspended game against the Astros. In that game, Hanrahan allowed three hits, but he was able to get out of the jam by inducing Miguel Tejada to hit into a double play and striking out Geoff Blum.

"Hanrahan has thrown the ball well in the last three or four outings," Acta said. "We can't forget that we had to rebuild his confidence. He might end up pitching at the end of the game again. The guys that took over for him, it's not like it has been lights out. They blew the lead yesterday, they have blown a couple of more leads since [Hanrahan] has been out of there."

Hanrahan said he is ready to show Acta that he can be trusted in crucial situations.

"I know that I was down on Manny's depth chart and I just knew I can go out there and get people out. If you do that, then he will have confidence in you again," Hanrahan said. "I had a couple of good games in a row, but there is still work to be done, probably. We'll see what goes from there."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.