Click the play button below to see photos and hear audio from Jonathan Papelbon's meeting with the media today. Hear him talk about dancing, his relationship with Eli Manning, Dice-K's new haircut and why the Red Sox are looking good for 2008.
Bruce Hurst, who won 88 games for the Red Sox from 1980-1988 and would have been the World Series MVP in 1986 had the Sox held on to win Game 6, has returned to the organization in an informal manner.
Hurst will work as an instructor in spring training for at least the next two weeks. His role could potentially be expanded after that, though Hurst has indicated to the team that he isn't interested in a full-time position at this time.
Hurst, who also pitched for San Diego, Colorado and Texas following his stay with the Sox, had worked with the Chinese national team in recent years.
General manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona met with the media a while ago, and touched on a number of topics, not the least of which was the status of Curt Schilling.
Schilling is sidelined with a shoulder and biceps injury, which jeopardizes his 2008 season, and by extension, his career, since it's expected this will be the 41-year-old pitcher's final season.
There was a dispute the last few weeks over the best course of action, with Schilling's longtime orthopedist, Dr. Craig Morgan, recommending surgery and the Sox urging a more conservative approach.
``Curt's here in camp to work hard and rehab and do everything in his power to get back in a position to contribute and help this team on the field,'' said Epstein. ``What we've kind of been through in the diagnosis process is really behind us. There were some bumps along the road because both parties care so much about the team and his career and doing what's right. But now that we're here in spring training, it's pretty simple -- he's here to rehab and get back in a position to help the club. Everyone seems to be on the same page.''
Epstein added that it was ``way too early to put any kind of timetable on'' on Schilling's potential return.
``It's step-by-step,'' said the GM. ``He's at the very beginning of the process. He got a cortisone shot on Monday. He's going to start work tomorrow. It's not really our place to put a timetable. He'll be rehabbing and strengthening for at least the next six-to-eight weeks and we'll see where we go from here.''
Epstein said origin of Schilling's injuries is unclear.
``There's no black-and-white incident,'' said Epstein. ``His houlder didn't respond to his throwing routine..His shoulder was strong at (the time of signing his contract last November). We certainly knew what we had with any pitcher of that age. But his shoulder was strong. He took an MRI. I woulnd't put fault on our medical staff at all for that.'' --- SEAN McADAM
Closer Jonathan Papelbon, who began last spring training as a member of the starting rotation before returning to the closer's role expects to revisit his routine from a year ago.
"I'm gonna stick to closing, man," said Papelbon. "Last spring training I took a starter's approach and built up my arm strength. So I think for the first few weeks I'm going to be on the starter's throwing program again, so to speak, to build up my arm. It worked last year."
Papelbon spoke with ptiching coach John Farrell frequently during the offseason.
"Last year," said Papelbon, "I learned to understand my arm, understand my body and understand my usage. Now we're just tweaking that."
Papelbon said he regarded the Red Sox as the team to beat in 2008. "I think so," said Papelbon. "If we're not the team to beat, I'd like to know who is."
"The true test of a team is: Can they do it again? Was it a fluke? Did they catch breaks? There's no reason we can't repeat as long as we stay healthy."
Papelbon watched this month's Super Bowl from the Bahamas with mixed feelings. As a Mississippi native, he's come to know the Manning family well and has gone duck hunting with Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
"It was a double-edged sword for me," said Papelbon. "Your friend is one of the quarterbacks and then you've got the Pats trying to do what they were trying to do, and you want to have the city that you live in be vibrant and excited."
Bill Reynolds details what Roger Clemens' battle on Capitol Hill on his alleged steroid use means to his legacy. Also, the Red Sox are in no rush to sign another starting pitcher; and the URI men's basketball team bows to Temple. Download today's Sports cover