CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For Jonathan Papelbon, Boston is gone but not forgotten.
The new closer for the Philadelphia Phillies recalled his seven seasons in Boston fondly Saturday, meeting the media at the Phils' spring training complex.
But he also has to begin a new chapter in his career and won't allow himself to think about the possibility of facing his former team in the World Series this October.
"If I can go one day at a time I know it sounds clich but thats what I have to do to do my job -- and be able to go out and do my job,'' said Papelbon.
But Papelbon quickly admitted with a smile: "I do know when we play the Red Sox (in interleague play May).''
Meanwhile, from afar, some 140 miles up Florida's Gulf Coast, Papelbon continues to monitor some old friends.
"I stay in contact with a few of them,'' said Papelbon. "I wish them all the best of luck. I have a lot of lifelong friends there. Even (Friday night, with Tim) Wakefield (retiring), that hit home for me.
'Wakefield and (Jason Varitek), these are the guys that I (met when I) came into the clubhouse as a rookie and learned the game of baseball, learned to respect the game of baseball. Those guys will always hold a special place in my heart and I'll always be friends with them, on and off the field -- except when we play them those three games in inter-league.''