Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Papelbon ’

On a different planet

I know a lot of you always think I’m on a different planet, but today I am actually in Jupiter, not to be confused with Mars.

OK, Jupiter, Florida. It was an interesting drive across Lake Okeechobee. Well, not really but I stayed awake for it.

Jason Bay and David Ortiz worked out in Fort Myers today, returning from their respective losses in the World Baseball Classic. They will both be in there against the Yankees on Friday night.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Jonathan Papelbon ripped Manny Ramirez for being a bad teammate in a magazine interview. This isn’ t exactly a news flash. If Manny had been on board with what the Red Sox were doing, he wouldn’t have been traded. They didn’t trade him because of his hitting. As Papelbon said in a text message to his buddies at Comcast SportsNet, “That old news story was four months ago. I’m not saying anything else, but I’m also not taking back anything I have said already.”

Anyway, on to matters that actually happened in Jupiter, Beckett was lights out again. Four shutout innings. Masterson fired zeroes for two innings. It was another tough day for prospect Michael Bowden, who allowed two runs and now has a 13.50 ERA in camp. Bowden has pitched in four games and given up nine runs.

“He just needs the ability to go out and pitch a number of innings,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “Right now, with him as a career starter, routines are disrupted. He’s aware of that. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the benefit of being able to start a ballgame and go, here, here’s three or four innings for you and go settle into a rhythm. Even though today, i think he did a much better job getting into that rhythm. His strengs and attributes are certainly durability, being able to pitch a high number of innings and he’s in a situation where he’s trying to make an impression. He’s clearly a depth starter for us. And we’re getting him the work when it becomes avialable.”

Offensively speaking, not much to report today. Outfield prospect Josh Reddick had three hits from the leadoff spot and is hitting .500 this spring. Julio Lugo was 1-for-2, and has a .450 average.  

Buchholz and crisis management; Pap breaks out slider

While the star of the day was top prospect Daniel Bard and his 100-mph fastball (I’m not sure poor Mike Aviles ever saw it), Clay Buchholz and Jonathan Papelbon also had interesting outings against Puerto Rico.

Buchholz got into jams in both of his innings, and got out of them. This is significant because this is the same type of thing that would just sink him last year, be it in Spring Training or the regular season.

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First inning, two
guys on, nobody out. Last year, it would have just snowballed and there would
have maybe been three runs at the least,” Buchholz said. “My thought process was alright, make a
pitch right here, get a groundball. I struck somebody out and then pop fly,
nobody advances. Last guy I struck out. That first inning made me go in the
dugout and just take a deep breath and say, OK, once again, I’ve been in that
position and I knew how to do it more [now].


“And second inning, right off the
bat, bases loaded, nobody out. From then on, my mindset was minimize and get a
groundball or get a flyball and I came out lucky and got a double play and then
ended up getting out of it with just one run.”

As for Papelbon, he is making a concerted effort to integrate the slider into his mix this season. Of course, Papelbon already has that lethal fastball and split, but the slider can give him a new wrinkle.

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Papelbon said he hasn’t thrown it much since converting to reliever for good in 2006.

“Today, I felt
like I wanted to go out there and throw my slider more and I was able to do
that well,” Papelbon said. “Just because,
for me, I feel like it’s time to kind of give those hitters something else to
look at. For me, adding another pitch will just, I feel like, make me better. I
felt really good today and I’m really pleased about it.”

Papelbon rejuvenated

It was interesting today to hear Jonathan Papelbon talk about how utterly spent he was at the end of the ALCS last year, and no, he would not have been able to pitch in Game 7 if a save situation had emerged.

That said, he is fully healthy and looking forward, he said, to becoming the Red Sox’s all-time saves leader. With 113, he currently trails Bob Stanley by 19.

“I feel really
good. Obviously last year, toward the end of the ALCS I was starting to kind of
break down and start to feel the effects of the season and I’m not going to sit
here and deny that I didn’t. For me, it was, I think with our season the way it was, we had a
couple of injuries with our starters. When your starters go down, it tends to
have a domino effect on your bullpen. I think that our bullpen had to pick up a
little bit of extra work, which I don’t think any one of us in our bullpen
weren’t willing and able to do. It’s just that was the effect of it. When you
start picking up extra innings that you’re not used to, you’ve got to kind of
learn kind of use that throttle.”

His unavailability for Game 7: “It was a
situation that, yeah, if we would have gone into extra innings or something, that
might have been a different story. I wanted to be able to pitch in the World
Series and be able to partake in it and not go down and have some injury affect
me from being able to do that.”

On not signing long-term a la Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia: “I’m not
disappointed. I think that this offseason we discussed a long-term deal but it
never really transpired into anything that made both sides happy. I don’t think
that anything really came of it. I think the big thing is that we were able to
come to an agreement with a one-year deal and I think that the Red Sox stepped
up big for me, there’s no question, with that one-year deal.”

“If you would ask
me, of course I would like a long-term deal. there’s no question about it. I’m
not one of those guys who would be willing to give up what I feel that I’m
worth to get that security. I don’t know. I’m just really happy to be where I’m
at right now, especially at this time where the economy is down, baseball is
down, everything is kind of in a little rut right now and for me to be able to
go out there and sign that contract, I feel completely blessed.”

Stockpiling arms

Another day, another Red Sox signing. Since Christmas, Theo Epstein has added Josh Bard, Brad Penny, Rocco Baldelli, John Smoltz, Mark Kotsay and Takashi Saito.

Saito is an interesting one, considering the dominant numbers he has put up during his three years in the Majors. Obviously health was a concern in 2008, which is why the Dodgers non-tendered him.

But the Red Sox now have a ton of options in the bullpen. Jonathan Papelbon, Saito, Okajima, Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez. All of those arms are of the quality variety.

This begs the question:  Will there be a trade in the works in which Theo can move one of these relievers to help fill another need on the club? It certainly appears that way. Don’t be surprised if one of these setup men is part of a package in a trade for a catcher. The Red Sox certainly have depth, that has become abundantly clear.

Saito will be 39 in February, which of course raises questions about his future durability. But in the context of this year, if he can stay healthy, it gives the Sox great insurance should Jonathan Papelbon need some rest during the season.

By the end of the ALCS, Papelbon admitted that he was just about spent. With the addition of Saito, and the continued emergence of Masterson, perhaps they can be even more conservative with him then they’ve been since the arm scare of 2006.

The guy just gets it

How else to explain Dustin Pedroia? Could he have made more money if he had gone year to year and took arbitration for three years and then free agency following the 2012 season? Of course.

But Pedroia didn’t take that into account when he opted to take the six-year, $40.5 million contact that includes an $11 million option for 2015. What he took into account is the fact that he loves Boston, he loves everything that comes with playing in Boston.

Pedroia loves playing under pressure. He loves playing in games that count. He loves losing to manager Terry Francona in cribbage. OK, maybe he wins those battles every now and then. He loves roaming around the clubhouse after a big home run, proclaiming himself as “the strongest 165-pound man in baseball.”

It’s good to know that the little man is set to become a fixture in this town for years going forward. And whenever Jason Varitek leaves the Red Sox or retires, we all know who the next captain is.

Now that Pedroia is in the fold, you wonder if guys like Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester will follow suit with deals that will keep them in a Boston uniform for many years.

Speaking of Pedroia, could this winter get any better for him? A Gold Glove. A Silver Slugger. An MVP. And now, $40.5 million worth of security.

Game 4 of the ALDS — Lowell done?

Not only is Mike Lowell out of tonight’s game, he probably won’t play again until 2009. He’s off the roster, meaning he loses eligibility until the World Seres. Last night, it was clear as day just how limited Lowell had become on both sides of the ball.

Mark Kotsay will again play first base. Red Sox manager Terry Francona says everyone from Jonathan Papelbon to the rest of his relievers are likely available.

The lineup is pretty standard: Kotsay hitting seventh and playing first. Everything else is the same.  J.D. Drew back in there in the five-hole.

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