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Vincente Padilla hoping life as a reliever is thing of the past

02.24.12 at 9:48 am ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Vincente Padilla picked the Red Sox for a reason.

“This is a great opportunity to be a starter,” said the 34-year-old told WEEI.com Friday morning. “I like starting. I’ve started for a long time.”

And it is clear Padilla will get every opportunity to win one of the last spots in the Red Sox’ rotation. But, after showing some promise out of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ bullpen in 2011 — even serving as the team’s closer for a few weeks prior to having to undergo neck surgery — the idea of the righty contributing to late innings in the Sox’ bullpen would seem interesting.

Not for Padilla, however.

When asked why the Red Sox won out for his services, signing the former All-Star to a one-year, minor-league contract (that will pay him $1.5 million if he makes the majors), Padilla said, “Other teams needed me as a reliever.” Then, when the subject of possibly being utilized out of the bullpen once again came up, he shook his head, reiterating that his hope is to put relieving in the rear-view mirror.

“Now I’m working as a starter,” said 13-year major league veteran. “I think my arm is good.”

For the record, prior to the ’11 campaign, in which he made all nine of his appearances out of the bullpen, Padilla he had made just two relief appearances in 206 outings.

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