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Papelbon already a big hit with Phillies fans

Associated Press / March 9, 2012
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Jonathan Papelbon has already endeared himself to Phillies fans without throwing a meaningful pitch.

Papelbon, the former Red Sox closer, had high praise for Philadelphia fans, even though he’s only been with the team a few months.

“The difference between Boston and Philadelphia, the Boston fans are a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball,’’ Papelbon said Thursday in a radio interview with Philadelphia’s 94-WIP. “The Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played. I’ve had a guy take off his prosthetic leg and throw it in the bullpen in Boston.’’

Papelbon signed a $50 million, four-year contract with the Phillies in November, the richest deal ever for a reliever. He was a four-time All-Star in seven seasons with the Red Sox, and helped them win the 2007 World Series.

Robertson hobbled

Reliever David Robertson limped out of the Yankees clubhouse in Tampa, holding a pair of crutches, his right foot in an oversized black boot.

He sprained a foot when he stumbled on stairs while moving empty boxes at his home, and the team sounded worried there might be a significant injury to the All-Star. Instead of making his second spring training appearance, Robertson made two trips to a hospital for X-rays, an MRI and CT scan.

“The initial tests that he took gave us some cause for concern,’’ manager Joe Girardi said Thursday. “We’re not sure what’s going on.’’

Girardi said earlier the initial diagnosis was a mid-foot sprain. Test results will be sent to New York to be evaluated by team physician Christopher Ahmad. The Yankees said Ahmad will consult with Dr. Justin Greisberg, whose specialties include foot trauma.

“I just misjudged one step and just caught it funny, and it just kind of rolled under me,’’ he said. He understands some may think there’s more to the story, that the injury couldn’t be caused by a tumble at home.

Price not right

David Price felt fine on the mound - his activity off it was the problem. Price left Tampa Bay Rays’ 8-1 loss to the Tigers in Port Charlotte, Fla., with minor neck spasms sustained while he was drying his neck with a towel between innings. “It’s happened to me two times before,’’ the lefthander said. “The towel just catches the back of my head and it pulls my neck forward. I just felt it a little bit in back of my neck and just wanted to be cautious with it.’’ Price and Rays manager Joe Maddon said it won’t be a setback and that Price should be fine within a few days . . . Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria (hand) took swings in a batting cage Thursday, but must take batting practice a few more times before playing in a game . . . Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter said he has been dealing with neck stiffness for several days and missed his scheduled throw Wednesday. The righthander is not sure if he will throw Friday, his next scheduled side session. He was expected to make his first spring start Monday in one of the Cardinals’ split squad games against either Atlanta or Washington . . . Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer for his first hit of spring training but Chris Heisey had an RBI triple and Juan Francisco hit a solo homer in a four-run fifth inning to lead the Reds to a 7-6 win over the Brewers in Phoenix . . . Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was a last-minute scratch against the Astros in Viera, Fla. A team spokesman said the 19-year-old had left calf tightness and is listed as day to day . . . Lefthander Glen Perkins signed a three-year extension worth a guaranteed $10.3 million with the Twins. Perkins emerged as a reliable late-inning reliever last season, going 4-4 with a 2.48 ERA.

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