Pap: no apology needed to Billy Wags
|08.25.09 at 5:02 pm ET|
Don’t waste your time expecting Jonathan Papelbon to recant some of his remarks over the past four days concerning Billy Wagner.
On Tuesday afternoon, hours before the second of four games with the White Sox and moments after the Red Sox officially announced they had acquired Billy Wagner for a pair of minor leaguers, Papelbon said he welcomes the new 38-year-old fireballing lefty to the Red Sox bullpen.
“If I need to apologize for something, then I’ll apologize,” Papelbon said. “This is just a situation where there’s nothing for me to apologize about. I said nothing demeaning about him. We’ll get along great, I know we will. I’m actually looking forward to him coming here and kind of picking his brain.”
Papelbon said he’s looking forward to getting to know Wagner and seeing how he might deepen an already strong Red Sox pen.
Francona said he’s not concerned about the Papelbon’s comments becoming a distraction.
“With Pap, there’s about four or five times a year,” Francona said of Papelbon’s frank comments about not wanting to disturb the chemistry of the bullpen. “There’s not a whole lot of filter there. He’s also a good kid. We’re okay.”
But perhaps Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein shed the most light on the whole Papelbon-Wagner dynamic that the club feels has been overdramatized.
“I think Pap feels he was misunderstood and he’s not a Rhodes Scholar to begin with, obviously,” Epstein said. “When I talked to him directly about it he couldn’t have been more excited about the prospects of adding Billy Wagner and actually went out of his way to make sure Billy knew that he was more than welcome here.”
Epstein also clarified that, during a Major League Baseball sanctioned window during which the Sox could talk directly to Wagner prior to the trade, Papelbon also participated in the conversation to express directly to the Mets pitcher how excited he was to be teammates with a man who over 15 years has forged a reputation as one of the top closers in baseball history.
As for how to use him, Francona will have that responsibility.
“I think we’re excited,” Francona said. “I think we have to recognize that he’s 14 months post-Tommy John surgery. I think it’s a great addition to our bullpen but again we will be very prudent and will use a lot of common sense and have a lot of communication with him because of what he’s been through, physically.”
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