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BOSTON (CBS) – Jonathan Papelbon is back at Fenway Park, ready to face the Boston Red Sox for the first time as a visitor.
Papelbon, who signed a four-year, $50-million deal with the Phillies in November of 2011, recorded a save against his former team in his only opportunity last season, and now may get a chance to do it in front of the fans that cheered whenever he took the mound for the ninth inning.
“Hopefully the fans will understand that what I did here was come here and help win,” Papelbon said in the Phillies dugout before the game Monday. “Hopefully they’ll understand that while I was here that’s all I really wanted to do is help the ball club win and we won so hopefully they’ll recognize that. If they don’t I understand it and I get it and I will welcome it with open arms.”
The Red Sox chose to move on from Papelbon after the 2011 season, unsure if the closer was worth a big-money deal. Papelbon has 47 saves in 51 opportunities as a member of the Phillies, striking out 107 batters in 88.2 innings of work.
Papelbon, who is a perfect nine-for-nine in save opportunities with a 0.96 ERA this season, is Boston’s all-time saves leader with 219.
If Papelbon doesn’t get a chance to close out his former club in their stadium, he could get a chance to do so in Philadelphia. After their quick two-game series at Fenway on Monday and Tuesday, the Red Sox and Phillies will play another two-game set at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday and Thursday.