A Closer From the Start?
(8.18.06, Lowell Spinners Handout Photo)
Guess It Depends on When You Asked ...
Papelbon on March 3: 'I Just Feel I'm Better as a Starter'
"I just feel I'm better as a starter," Papelbon said. "The reason why this team drafted me in '04 was to be a starter. I'm going to take this opportunity and run with it..."
"I know that preparation is a huge part of it now," Papelbon said. "I know what it will take to be a starter in the big leagues, and, especially, in the American League East. I want to be able to say to the team, `Hey, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.' " -- 3.04.07, Bob Ryan, Boston Globe
Papelbon on Feb. 28: 'I'm Chomping at the Bit'
"It was the master plan from the start for the big righthander to be a front-line hurler anyway. Still, after a year's hiatus from that preparation, Papelbon occasionally struggles to exhibit the patience required to stretch him out.
"I'm chomping at the bit," he said. "In my very first meeting with Theo [Epstein] and Tito [Francona], the first thing out of their mouths was, 'We know you're ready to go, but we don't want you throwing 100 pitches right away.' They were a little worried, but they shouldn't be. I'm fine." ...
"We've talked about it multiple times," said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. "Jon's very driven. He wants to get out to a 5-0 start. I'm trying to get him away from that thought process and thinking about the execution of the pitch." -- 3.01.07, Jackie MacMullan, Boston Globe
Papelbon On Feb. 3: 'My Entire Makeup is to Be a Starting Pitcher'
"While it's always been Papelbon's goal to be a starter, he doesn't believe every pitcher shares that dream.
"There are a lot of pitchers I know whose goal it is to be a closer. Or to be a middle reliever," he said. "For me, my entire makeup is to be a starting pitcher. That's what I know. Since I've been in the Red Sox organization, I've been a starter until last year."
If he had to return to the bullpen?
"No, man, I wouldn't be disappointed. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. If the situation comes up and it's good for the team, I'll do it." -- 2.04.07, Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe
Bradford: They Said It (More Quotes That Need Clarification)
"One aspect of this baffles me: Word from Fort Myers was that the Boston brass insinuated Dr. Thomas Gill hadn't been asked to perform any additional check-ups of late. This was the person who supposedly had the ultimate say on the initial decision, and was quoted in The Eagle-Tribune back before Papelbon's first spring training appearance saying;
"You can't go to the literature and look at 200 pitchers who have had transient subluxations and say half are starters and half are relievers and this half did better than that half. That's where my job comes into play. Whether it's for baseball or something else, I have to figure out what physically and biologically makes the most sense.
"The question they asked me was which makes the most sense, pitching as a starter or as a reliever. Obviously, as a starter you have five days, you have time to strengthen during the season and you have a routine. We have a great pitching program for the starters. Josh Beckett pitched 200 innings and that was because he followed the program. ... It's a routine that gives a guy time to recover."
Maybe we can get some clarification in the coming days." -- 3.23.07, Rob Bradford, Eagle-Tribune
Eric Wilbur: Bon Voyage
"As stable as Boston’s bullpen looks now, the rotation looks all the less so. Curt Schilling has looked great so far this spring, but Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett, for all the vast possibilities that exist, have yet to prove they can perform at the elite level the AL East demands. In a lot of ways, Papelbon stabilized the unknowns in the rotation with a potential dominant force at the back end, the glue that connected the dots between dominant and adequate. Now when you compare the pitching staff to last year's, Matsuzaka is all that has really changed it. That's not to deny his added importance, just a warning that at some point one of these guys is going to go down, and the rotation could be as ill-equipped as it was last year in plugging in guys to spot start throughout the season. Or did you block Jason Johnson from your memory?" -- 3.22.07, Eric Wilbur, Boston.com
McAdam on March 8: Starter Role a Natural for Papelbon