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May 10, 2007

Closer chimes in

By Steve Silva, Staff

The closer doesn’t appear to be bringing any closure to the Schilling-Bonds debate.

Jonathan Papelbon said in an interview yesterday that Curt Schilling’s comments were unprofessional and Barry Bonds’s pursuit of the all-time home run record was "good for baseball".

Papelbon, in his weekly appearance on Fox Sports Net’s “Friendly’s Scoop” segment (watch video here), chimed in on Schilling’s comments when he was asked if this was the best baseball team he’s been around in his professional career.

“Yeah, I would definitely say so,” said Papelbon. “This is the most balanced team I’ve probably ever been on and the most professional team… besides the things that Schill said yesterday about Barry, that wasn’t too professional, but we’re just a really balanced team. We’re good because we pick each other up.”

Papelbon was asked if manager Terry Francona had anything to say to the team about the comments Schilling made about Bonds. Francona yesterday said he wanted to Schilling to “zip it a bit” about Bonds.

“No, I don’t think so. He’s got his whole thing with the blog,” said Papelbon. “He [Francona] kind of lets him go with that but we’re trying to win ballgames and win a championship and not really worry about what he has to say about other players or this and that. We’ve got our agenda to stick to and win ballgames.”

Papelbon was asked if will be paying attention as Barry Bonds approaches the all-time home run record.

“Yeah definitely,” said Papelbon. “He’s doing it for baseball. And I think it’s good for baseball. And I think that he’s going out there and crushing home runs and getting baseball back to where it was in the late 1990s and such that, hey, fans are going to come out and see the home runs, there’s no doubt about it. And fans will come see good pitching. And I think he’s doing great for the game itself, so I can’t complain.”

Papelbon was asked if baseball and commissioner Bud Selig should embrace Bonds and the home run chase.

“Yeah definitely, 100 percent,” replied Papelbon.

On Roger Clemens returning to the Yankees, Papelbon said, “Personally I don’t think we need him. I think our pitching staff with Jon Lester coming back is going to be huge for our rotation. And our bullpen has been doing its job better than anyone out there. Personally, I don’t think we need him. It was a thing with the Yankees where they needed the pitching.”

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