Q&A with Jeremy Papelbon

Jeremy Papelbon has gone back into the bullpen this season after stretching out his arm in the starting rotation toward the end of 2007. The left-hander has made 13 appearances out of the ‘pen this season with Class High-A Daytona, logging 23 1/3 innings and posting a 3.47 ERA.

At the end of last year, you told us there was some uncertainty about your future role regarding whether you'd be starting or relieving in 2008. Do you think that question has been answered based on your number of appearances in the bullpen thus far?

Jeremy Papelbon: Yeah, absolutely. You look at Daytona and we at one point had six starters here. Now that (James) Russell went up, we have five. Coming out as a starter or from the bullpen, it's really no different for me. The only difference is preparation. Any role I'm put in, it's about getting outs.

Has the organization said anything to you about starting again one day?

Jeremy Papelbon: They've kind of put me in the role of long relief; a guy that's going to go out and not just throw one inning, but someone who's going to give you two or three innings an outing. I'm starting to get comfortable with that role.

How much time have you spent working on your changeup in games? Is it a pitch you need in relief, or have you been able to stick with fastball-breaking ball?

Jeremy Papelbon: It all depends because in relief, you need three pitches at most. When I'm warming up and throwing my pitches, I kind of decide which pitches I want to take out there by (reviewing) my warm-up and seeing which work for me. Some days I'll go out and throw a changeup, some days I'll favor my slider more, and some days I'll throw my forkball more. It all depends.

Does that change based on the type of hitters you know you'll be facing?

Jeremy Papelbon: Yeah, that's another thing I look at warming up. If the first two or three guys I'm facing are left-handed, I'm going to work hard on having a good slider down and away. It all depends on who I'm facing, or if I know that I'm going out there for at least two innings, I'll want to get three pitches working because I might face a guy twice in the lineup.

Is your forkball similar to your splitter?

Jeremy Papelbon: Right, it's the same pitch. I throw it like a splitter, and some times it goes like one but some times it knuckles and breaks. It all depends on how I'm throwing it that day.

Overall, have you been pleased with the start you've gotten off to?

Jeremy Papelbon: Oh yeah. You definitely want to start off well and I think I have. The only really bad outing I had was when I gave up four runs, but other than that I've gone out and tried to get some outs and keep my team in a position to win.

About the team (18-19), what are your thoughts on how they've played this season?

Jeremy Papelbon: We're playing all right. We're still trying to get going a little bit. Some of these guys have played together for a while and some are newer guys that are trying to get into that groove of team situations. I think once we started meshing, I wouldn't be surprised if we put five or six wins together in a row.

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