CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jonathan Papelbon isn't a member of the Red Sox anymore, but he believes the players who are still there are determined to make up for how 2011 ended.
"They'll be motivated, no question about it,'' said Papelbon after arriving in camp with the Philadelphia Phillies. "There's too many good guys in the clubhouse, too many competitors, too many who have too much pride to just lay down. Those guys aren't going to come into this season and lay down. They're going to work hard, there's no doubt about it.''
Papelbon was asked about some of the lack of commitment of some teammates last year when the Sox hit the skids in the final month and lost out on a playoff spot.
"Everybody has his own opinion about what went on there,'' said Papelbon. "Nobody knows what truly was going on. I don't even know because I was worried about myself and doing my own job. Just because a team struggles doesn't mean that not doing what they're supposed to be doing.
"Ive always said that when you win it cures everything. When you lose theres got to be a reason why you lose. Is that why we lost? No. No, I think that everybody goes and plays this game the way they know how to play and thats all I was focused on."
Papelbon was praised by the training staff as one of the more committed players throughout the season, but he said he never saw the need to speak to a teammate who wasn't working as hard.
"I never saw that,'' he said. "I was busy preparing myself to get into the game.''
After Eduardo Rodriguez's horrific performance Monday night against the Rays -- 11 hits and 9 earned runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings, leading to a 12-6 Red Sox loss to a team that entered the game riding an 11-game losing streak -- the Sox succumbed to the obvious and shipped him back to Pawtucket. And they got no argument from Sean McAdam. "I think this is the right move," CSN's Red Sox Insider told Dalen Cuff on Monday night's SportsNet Central. "Because, clearly, the step forward that [Rodriguez] took, however small, last week was more than wiped out and (he) regressed this evening the way he pitched. And things have to be worked out, both in terms of execution and his approach . . . " In six starts this season covering 29 1/3 innings -- less than five innings a start -- Rodriguez has been, in a word, awful. His 1-3 record is bad enough, but couple that with an 8.59 ERA, an opponents' batting average of .315, a WHIP of 1.74 and nine home runs allowed (a rate that projects out to about 45 homers allowed in a 150-inning season), and you can see why a change had to be made. “The bottom line is, [Rodriguez] is capable of more," said manager John Farrell. But now comes the next question: Who replaces him? And that, noted McAdam, has no easy answer. "What it means for the rotation going forward is completely uncertain," McAdam told Cuff. "In fact, (Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski) told us that there was no corresponding move. Of course, because this turn doesn't come up in the rotation for another five days with the off-day Thursday, it's not anything they need to address (immediately). And in all likelihood, they'll probably get somebody to pitch out of the bullpen here until that turn comes up." So the Sox get five days to ponder a problem that seems, in many ways unsolvable. "[There] aren't a lot of good candidates internally," McAdam noted, "and it's unlikely there's going to be any sort of trade . . . in the next four days to fill that spot." STARTS: 6
INNINGS: 29 1/3
OPP. AVERAGE: .315
HOME RUNS ALLOWED: 9
NHL Insider Erik Erlendsson joins Sports Tonight to offer his take on where Steven Stamkos might land in free agency and what shot the Bruins have at signing him.