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Old 02-17-2007, 04:15 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Jens1893 View Post
What slot on the rotation is Papelbon probably getting? And why did they move him to the rotation if they feel he wore down towards the end of the season due to pitching so many innings? Donīt starters usually rack up more innings than closers? Or was the rest between appearances the reason?
Papelbon's dead arm problems were the result of loose joints throughout his body, a genetic condition he inherited from his mother. It had never proven a problem prior in his career but its believed working many back to back nights throwing full strength resulted in the flare up. The Red Sox training staff believe that the joint condition will be more easily managed in the structured regiment a starter works in rather than the sporadic usage of a closer.

Thats not to say he couldn't potentially go back to closing if starting was to not work out or if the team really needed an anchor at the back of the 'pen, but the front office's long term plans of having Papelbon start and the medical staff's opinion regarding his condition tie in perfectly, making a move to starter ideal all around.

I'm expecting a rotation (in order) of Schilling, Matsuzaka, Beckett, Wakefield, and Papelbon. Wakefield with his knuckleball is an innings horse so lining him up before Papelbon should leave the bullpen rested to relieve Paps during or at the end of the 6th inning. The 5th starter can also be skipped occasionally through the rotation, further lightening the load on Paps. Management wants Papelbon to pitch in the area of 250 IPs in '07, taking an intermediate step between 90 IP reliever to 280+ IP starter. Their biggest concern is having Papelbon at full strength come the playoffs.

I personally don't expect too much from Lester, even though he's started throwing already. He struggled with command last year and just took a big blow to his conditioning due to cancer treatments. I think he'll start the season off in Pawtucket working himself back into competitive shape and refining his control, with him moving to Fenway mid-season if someone has gotten hurt or if Papelbon is needed in the 'pen.

Clement will see a similar role while he rehabs his rotator cuff, but I don't expect much of anything from him.
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