Red Sox

Nationals release Papelbon, could Red Sox be interested?

Nationals release Papelbon, could Red Sox be interested?

The Nationals finally released ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had lost his job after Washington acquired Mark Melancon (another ex-Red Sox closer) and hadn't pitched in a week.

Papelbon (2-4, 4.37 ERA, 19 saves, 1.46 WHIP in 35 innings), acquired by the Nats from the Phillies at the trade deadline last season, has been on shaky ground since his dugout fight with teammate Bryce Harper late last season.  

“I think there’s been some rocky moments, but all in all he’s completed about 84 percent of his save chances he’s had here,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He does it his way. He was a guy that gave us everything he had every time out.”

Could a Red Sox reunion be in the offing for the 35-year-old reliever? He pitched for Boston from 2005-11, including closing out the 2007 World Series victory, before signing as a free agent in Philadelphia.

The Red Sox bullpen has struggled in recent weeks, but manager John Farrell said before the game Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Fenway Park that the Red Sox have not talked about Papelbon.

Papelbon, who in the past has made no secret of his desire to return to Boston, requested his release from the Nats, rather than be designated for assignment, because he didn't want to wait the 10 days a DFA move requires before finding a new team. 


Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.