Papelbon makes history in closer's role

191542.jpg

Papelbon makes history in closer's role

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON -- With his 30th save of the season in Fridays win over the Rays, Jonathan Papelbon became the first pitcher in baseball history to record 30 saves in his first six full big league seasons. A fact of which Francona was unaware.

I didnt even know that, Francona said. I didnt know it was 30 last night. My heart was in my throat hoping we would win.

Theres a lot of things to be impressed about. I think you guys have been around long enough to know I love sitting up here bragging about my guys. I think thats the way its supposed to be. The way hes come back. Hes always been good, but he set the bar so high his first couple of years, then when it wasnt quite the same, he came back this year with a vengeance. Hes been good, and hes been consistent and hes worked hard.

Hes carefree but hes a good kid. Everybody thats been around him knows he means well. When you give him that ball hes got one thing, he wants to beat the other team. Its kind of been nice, and especially nice when you see guys come through the organization and you see them grow up.

I can remember that time in Fort Lauderdale in spring training when he missed the bus, he thought the bus was going to swing by and pick him up. Now you look at a guy whos got 30 saves in six straight seasons. Its kind of funny.

There was a time, though, when Papelbon was set to join the rotation, before he decided in the middle of spring training his future would be as a closer.

It was difficult because organizationally I knew where we stood, Francona said. We had meetings and team-wise I was so uncomfortable going into the season without . . . I think I remember telling you guys the story former pitching coach John Farrell and I driving down Route 41 and talking about our staff. We both kept saying were not comfortable with where were at in the bullpen but organizationally were going to do whats right.

"Pap came up to me and it was just like time to, this is not an omen or a sign, but time to go to general manager Theo Epstein with this. Im glad we did.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

sale-redsox.png

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”