BOSTON (CBS) – Jonathan Papelbon is looking forward to facing his old team as the Boston Red Sox open a three-game set with the Phillies in Philadelphia on Friday.
“I’ve been looking forward to this series since the day I signed here,” said Papelbon, who signed a record four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies during the offseason. “I think facing old teammates, (it’s for) bragging rights. It’s like you play with your brother in the backyard for so many years, and you want to have those bragging rights. I don’t want to have to hear it from Pedroia or somebody on the text messages.”
Papelbon On Facing Red Sox:
Of course, his alter ego “Cinco-Ocho” is also very excited, and hoping to take the mound with the game on the line against the team he spent his first seven seasons with.
“Cinco-Ocho always has the advantage. Whatever he does – he doesn’t know how he do, he just do,” Papelbon – or Cinco-Ocho – said. “He always got the advantage. If you want to take Ocho, it’s 10-1 odds. Never bet against him.”
Papelbon, or whatever you want to call him, is 11-for-11 for the Phillies in save opportunities this season, and said he doesn’t need any added motivation for the weekend series. Both teams struggled to start the year, but have recently turned things around a bit.
That makes for a great series this weekend in Papelbon’s eyes.
“It’s two very similar ball clubs; two great pitching staffs and two great lineups. I think it’s going to be some good games this weekend. I’m expecting to get in there three times in a row,” he joked.
And the one man he hopes to face off against: David Ortiz.
But of course, Papelbon has a different name for the one Red Sox fans call “Big Papi.”
“Big sloppy; that’s my man,” Papelbon said, taking a swipe at former teammate before adding he thought Ortiz’ physique looked very good when he saw him this spring. “Just the fact that if he gets me, I won’t ever be able to say nothing to him. But if I get him, I’ll always be able to say something to him… it’s bragging rights.”
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Papelbon has a lot to brag about from his time in Boston. He left as the team’s all-time leader in saves with 219, and was on the mound when the Sox clinched the 2007 World Series.
“I’m proud of the championship we won there; proud of being a part of an organization I felt taught me how to play in the big leagues,” Papelbon said of his time in Boston. “I’m proud of playing for a manager in (Terry Francona) that taught me how to be a man; how to accept failure, how to accept winning A to Z. I could sit here and talk all day about it, but for me, it’s a lot of good memories and a lot of good people around it.”
Now he gets to face off against them for the first time.
“I’m just going to go out there and let ‘Cinco’ take over.”