According to Chris Snow of the Boston Globe, Single A Sarasota pitcher Jon Papelbon took a big step in becoming a legitimate major leaguer yesterday. No, he didn't get out of a jam with the bases loaded or strike out a slugger or pitch a perfect game. But he did show that he wasn't scared of anyone. And that's saying something.
Jon Papelbon, who has never pitched above Single A Sarasota, was on the mound yesterday for what could be one of those seminal moments in a prospect's career.
Papelbon, 24, went 0 and 1 on Sammy Sosa in the fourth inning of the righthander's first spring training game. In the top of the inning, Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera had twice gone inside on Jay Payton, hitting him the second time. So, ahead on Sosa, Papelbon busted a mid-level fastball inside. Sosa took one step toward the mound."I didn't know what he was doing," Papelbon said. "He didn't say anything. He just stared at me."
That won over some people in Red Sox uniforms.
"And I'm one of them," Francona said.
Sticking up for your teammates and not backing down to Corky McHopsalot? Nice job, newbie.