Jonathan Papelbon: I don’t feel like a Phillie, I’ve never been embraced here
Before he made his first appearance of the 2015 season, Jonathan Papelbon managed to figure out a way to get Philadelphia fans to turn on him. How? By saying he has never felt like a Phillie.
“The Red Sox are a part of who I am, man,” Papelbon told Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe before Wednesday’s game. “I don’t really feel much like a Phillie. Boston’s where I was born and raised. It’s kind of like that, you know? It’s the city you were born and raised in.
“It’s been a tough transition over here. … I don’t know if I can honestly tell you I’m even used to it yet.”
Papelbon should be comfortable by now. He’s in the fourth and final year of a four-year, $50 million contract he signed with the Phillies back in 2011. But after he got his team out of serious trouble with a four-out save on Wednesday, Papelbon reiterated his unpopular stance.
“I’ve never been embraced here, from day one,” he said, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. ““It’s not antagonizing. It’s speaking the truth. When I get asked that question, I give you the truth.
“I don’t say anything to piss anybody off, piss the fans off, by any means. I’m honest, you know? I’m a Phillie right now. I play for the Phillies, but there’s a big part of my heart that lies with the Red Sox, you know what I mean?”
The Phillies needed Pap in a big way in their second game of the season. A costly error and some wild pitching from Ken Giles quickly cut Philly’s 4-0 lead in half and left the bases loaded with two out in the eighth. Papelbon came on and induced a fly ball from Hanley Ramirez — albeit one that nearly left the yard — to get out of the jam.
Papelbon, 34, finished the 2014 season with 39 saves and a 2.04 ERA, so we know he can still be effective. He has said in the past that he can see himself returning to the Red Sox, who currently have a 40-year-old closer on the DL with a hamstring injury.
Perhaps Papelbon’s crotch grab antics from last year were an indication of the way he feels about his current situation. He could very well be traded this season, and we wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up back in Boston.