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And much like his 2010 season, Papelbon is not worried. Even after giving up four runs off a pair of hits and walks in the ninth inning Thursday against the Mets.
The Red Sox held on for an 8-5 win, but it was Eammon Portice getting the final out, not number-58.
“I still feel very locked in,” Papelbon said after the outing. ”For me right now I’m just a tick off my mechanics. I’m not searching. I know exactly what’s going on. I can feel it in my delivery and for me it’s not a big deal at all because I know it’s just a minor detail.”
After pitching three scoreless innings to start the spring, it has now been a bad-outing, good-outing trend for Papelbon. On March 11, he allowed three runs in just a third of an inning against the Twins. Three days later, he shut down the Yankees with a 1-2-3 ninth. Thursday, it was back to the struggles.
“It’s all the same really, I’m basically just trying to find my delivery and iron out the kinks before the season rolls around,” Papelbon said.
Papelbon Talks Mechanics With WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Jonny Miller
The seven runs Papelbon has allowed this spring have come off just three hits, with opponents batting just .176 against him. The problem has been his control, walking five and hitting a batter in each of his two rough outings.
“I thought (Thursday) he just got out in front, a little quick in his delivery,” Manager Terry Francona said. ”Everything flattened out a bit and his fastball started wandering.”
The plan now is to have Papelbon throw two innings at the Red Sox spring training complex over the weekend. He hopes have at least one more spring outing before the season starts, another chance to get his delivery down.
“It’s spring training where I’m trying to get my delivery where it’s perfect everyday and right now it’s just now. It’s still spring, so it is what it is.”