Red Sox manager Terry Francona leaves no room for question – he wants Jonathan Papelbon to be his closer. Of course he does. Papelbon was nearly un-hittable last year – giving up just 7 earned runs (7!!) in over 68 innings pitched, only 3 home runs, and only 53 base-runners. Clearly Jonathan won't have that type of success as a starter – or anything close to it, but he can still be successful. While Francona will feel much more secure handing the ball to Papelbon in the 9th (or sometimes 8th), 200 innings of Papelbon at a 3.60 ERA (which is feasible) is more valuable to the Red Sox than 68 innings of 0.92 ERA. I may not be a doctor – and I don't quite understand how starting is better for his health than closing (maybe because it allows for a set regimen) – but I go with whatever the experts say. Jonathan Papelbon is a bright star and the Sox need to do whatever it takes to keep him healthy. (repeat after me, no Kerry Wood, no Kerry Wood…). Press play on the file below to hear Francona's statement saying he would prefer to have Papelbon in the pen.
Tagged with: Boston Red Sox • Jonathan Papelbon • Terry Francona