Day 1 in the Fort

I’m back to my home away from home. After a 1,400 mile trek with my wife, the kids and my sister-in-law, I have returned to Fort Myers, which feels as familiar as that comfortable pair of sweat pants I wore almost every day during the winter.

At any rate, it was a fairly quiet day at Early Bird camp, highlighted by Jonathan Papelbon’s first mound session — and media session — since Game 3 of last October’s Division Series. Daisuke Matsuzaka, looking lean and mean, did a car-side interview in the parking lot with Japanese reporters and will hopefully meet with the Boston press on Wednesday.

There were a ton of players participating in the informal workouts, including Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, Manny Delcarmen and Tim Wakefield, who kicked off season No. 16 in Boston with his arrival this morning.

Pitchers and catchers are all due to be in Fort Myers by Thursday, with physicals set for Friday and the first full-squad workout on Saturday.

Papelbon spoke to the media for 19 minutes, taking all topics head-on. Here were some snippets.

What about some people thinking it’s a foregone conclusion the righty will leave Boston as soon as he is eligible for free agency?

“I think that’s the perception, that I’m going to go somewhere else, but it’s all a perception. Right now this is the way it’s working out. It’s that simple. It’s one year at a time, it’s working out and both sides are happy. Why would you try to do anything else is my way of thinking. Of course I’d love to be with Boston for a long term,” Papelbon said.

That painful outing against the Angels?

“It’s something that I used for motivation for me this offseason. What else can you do with it? It’s something that you’ve got to learn from and be able to move on. You’re always going to learn [more] from the innings that you struggle in than the ones you’re successful at.”

What happened to the splitter?

“That’s such a feel pitch. It’s a pitch that you have to throw a lot, just like a curveball. Any kind of offspeed pitch, it’s a feel pitch. There were times when I was choking it down a little too much and overthrowing it, and there were times when I was throwing it perfect. But like I said, that comes with experience, and this year I’ll be able to take that into the season right from the get-go.”

The goal for Papelbon now is to start a new postseason streak much like the 26 innings without allowing an earned run that didn’t end until Game 3 against the Angels.

“I’m looking forward to starting that streak all over again for another four or five years, hopefully. That’s how I set my goals – to go on streaks. You go on those long streaks, not get in a rut, come out of them quick, that’s what it’s all about for me in my role.”

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It’s good to be back!

11 Comments

“It’s good to be back!”
damn right !

Personally I think Papelbon will be the least of the Red Sox problems in 2010. I have stated a few times during this longggg winter that guys not named Papelbon and Bard are the problem in that pen. I wonder how much gas in the tank for Oki??–he has had lots and lots of appearances in the last few seasons. Ramirez was solid for the first 2 months or so but was subpar after that and crapped his pants in the playoffs. Delcarmen was solid for the first 3 months and then he forgot how to pitch. I don’t think Theo did anything to make this bullpen any better. I have seen too many games decided in the 7th and 8th innings in baseball over the years.

I hope Garry gets better because he could be used this year! I’m not sure if his contract would allow him to pitch out of the bullpen but then again Garry is a team player and he’ll do anything to help the team get in the win column. Get well Garry!!

Hey, Brian, glad you are back, also. Long time no see!
I’m not so worried about Oki or Ramon. Tito, I think, has gotten a little wiser about how to be judicious with using him, so that he can re-fuel a little better. I think Ramon will be pretty solid this year. I am more confident about our starters going deeper into games (6-7 IP per start) than I was last year, and adding Lackey SHOULD help with that. Whether Ramon continues to choke in the playoffs, we’ll see. DelCarmen, well, is DelCarmen–I don’t see him performing much differently this year.
Brian, have you heard from DBen lately? Is he still trying to sue you for something?–like too much snow? ;) Maybe you should sue him for sending you guys in FL too much “air conditioning”! ;) Take care, Brian. GO SOX!

“…judicious with him”–”him” being Oki. GO SOX!

Hey Brian!!!! Long time no hear from! I just have 1 question for you:
Did you see your shadow when you came out hibernation today???To heck with Pucksatawney whatever his name is, more winter or no?

…and Jules: Have you picked up your pleated skirt and pom-poms from the dry cleaners yet?? I get mine Friday!!

Hi everybody!! Ready for winter to end? ……….not you, Greg, I know what your answer would be!

I see that Victor Martinez is saying he wants to end his career as a Sox. Is it just me, or do any of you see that as the Kiss of Death for his Sox career? Whenever a player says that he wants to stay, he ends up gone the next year. Kind of like when an owner or GM says that a manager’s job is safe. That’s when you know for sure that he’s going bye-bye.
So, could this be the last season we have V-Mart?

Hey gang! Guess what? I’m a teacher now! As of this Monday, I’ll be teaching Leadership (in English) to Seniors at a local private high school. At 7 a.m. Pretty cool, huh? I’ll be picking your brains from time to time for ideas on activities.
I’ll try and catch up with discussion topics here soon. Until then, I’ll just limit myself to my usual cheer: GO SOX!!

Congrats Carlos!!! Julia is the one whose brain you should pick, sh’e a teacher as well. Does this end your quest to become a governor for the RedSox Nation?? Hope not.. Good Luck on Monday and every day there forward!!! Buenos Noches Amigo..
(unfortunately that is the extent of my Spanish, although I am looking for a class so I can beome bilingual and increase my worth in the job market)

!Felicidades, Carlos! !Suerte! Stop in when you can!
Arnie, about the snow, you’re right. The school snow days, however, are driving my daughter crazy (and I can’t blame her)!
GO SOX!

Great, just what we need to read now–Dice-K has a sore back! :/ Well, if it is no worse than is what is being reported, that’s one thing, but…

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