Red Sox notebook

Papelbon's closing remark

The NY abuse is in the past

Red Sox shortstop Alex Cora flops to the grass after flopping on a play, mishandling a grounder by the Angels' Torii Hunter for a run-scoring error in the fifth inning last night. Red Sox shortstop Alex Cora flops to the grass after flopping on a play, mishandling a grounder by the Angels' Torii Hunter for a run-scoring error in the fifth inning last night. (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Gordon Edes
Globe Staff / July 19, 2008

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jonathan Papelbon said he was "totally over" the ugliness that marred his appearance at All-Star events this week in New York, but marveled yesterday at how loud Yankee Stadium turned when he entered the game.

"I swear to God, it was so loud I felt the mound shaking," said Papelbon, who was greeted with chants of "Mariano" and "Overrated" when he entered the game, the New York crowd in a frenzy because of inaccurate media reports that Papelbon said he deserved to close the game.

"The mound felt like it was vibrating," Papelbon said. "Actually, it pumped me up even more."

With the game going 15 innings, neither Papelbon nor Mariano Rivera wound up closing - Papelbon gave up an unearned run in the eighth, Rivera pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings thereafter. Papelbon said Rivera had no issue with him.

"There was nothing really to talk about," Papelbon said. "He knew where I was coming from. That's it."

And when first base coach Luis Alicea's name was butchered by the Yankee Stadium public address announcer, a Bob Sheppard wannabe, Alicea said the booing was so loud that it didn't matter, he couldn't hear, anyway. "I've never been heckled like that in my life," he said. "They were getting on me about everything. They said my shoes were too small - they said I wore a size 3 - and my jersey was too big. I put my hands on my hips, and they said I looked like a girl. At one point, we said something to Derek Jeter, told him to say something to the crowd, but he just laughed."

No shot for Francona

Manager Terry Francona did not have the injection he was scheduled to receive in his neck to alleviate numbness in his left arm. The condition, he said, was a consequence of previous disk surgery, but because Francona is on blood thinners, when doctors explained some of the risks involved, he opted against the shot. Francona will exercise and undergo therapy instead. "I'm progressing from numbness to pain," he said, "so I know it's there."

Francona responded to the suggestion made by Globe columnist Bob Ryan that he should retire because of his health. "I know Bob Ryan thinks I should quit," Francona said. "But I'm not dead yet. I may be getting there."

Extra help

Francona said he received a call from commissioner Bud Selig Thursday to discuss the All-Star Game, specifically what can be done to reduce the risk of running out of pitchers, which happened when the game was declared a tie in 2002 and came close to happening again Tuesday night, when the National and American League squads were down to their last pitchers. "On TV, when you're watching it, it may seem kind of funny, and you say, 'I wouldn't want to be that guy,' " Francona said. "Well, the other night, I was that guy."

Francona said he wrote a follow-up e-mail yesterday to Selig, kicking around some ideas. One was perhaps having fans select a slate of setup men who would understand they would not be called upon unless a team ran out of pitchers.

"George Sherrill was the hero of the day," Francona said, citing the Orioles closer who pitched 2 1/3 innings. "He kept coming in and saying, 'I'll go back out.' We called the Orioles and told them how proud we were of him, and how proud they ought to be. He was everybody's favorite. It was kind of cool.

"When [Kansas City's Joakim] Soria came out, I saw him waving to his family. I said, 'Quit waving, big boy. You're going back out there.' "

Going the distance

David Ortiz's rehab stint will not be shortened, Francona said, even before Ortiz homered for the second time in two games in Pawtucket. "No reason to," he said. "We've been real consistent about not cutting corners with this one, and we won't."

Francona was in his car Thursday night, he said, when his cellphone rang. Ortiz was on the other line. "He called to tell me he'd just popped out," Francona said. "I said, 'Why are you calling me for? I don't care.' " Ortiz didn't call after his home run, the manager said. "Probably too busy high-fiving."

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