PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When Jonathan Papelbon talks, there is usually quite a bit of reaction. Earlier this year, when Papelbon said that he doesn’t perform as well when the team isn’t winning, that reaction was generally negative. It seems it wasn’t only a lack of fire that caused Papelbon’s disappointing 2013 season.
Well, you know I had a couple things going on that I kind of grinded through,” Papelbon told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday. “I had a little hip issue that I didn’t really talk about last year a whole lot. I’m not one to come out and make excuses as why velo [velocity] is down or why we’re not doing good, or anything like that. I posted up everyday still and I went out there and I tried to do the best that I can and that’s part of it. Some years you’re not going to be completely healthy, but I was happy to say the least I was out there grinding it out even though we weren’t in playoff contention, you know?”
Regardless of the physical issues, the fact remains that Papelbon said it’s difficult for him to perform at the top of his game if the team isn’t in the thick of things. He stood by that statement on Monday.
“When you’re in a race and when you’re in a playoff race to get into that playoff contention there is a lot more adrenaline in the ball park—there is a lot more buzz around. You walk in at BP, and you hear that buzz, you hear that little hum. Since I’ve been in Philly we have not had that and for a player that realize on that, it’s a big thing,” Papelbon said. “For me, it’s just like um—I’m the type of a person that you know, I’m going to say what I say, there’s not really much of a filter with me. I think people have realized that. I’m honest, you know?
“I don’t really think about how I’m going to effect people sometimes, but I will say this, I am honest and if I’m asked a question I will tell you exactly how I feel and I’m not going to shy away from it.”
This is the first Spring Training with Ryne Sandberg running the show for the Phillies, and Papelbon, like Cole Hamels, says the change has made a difference.
“It changes everything, I believe, and I think it’s all changed for the good. I think there is a good bit of energy in this camp, there is a good bit of optimism, there is a good bit of hope, and I think—change is good sometimes, it really is,” he said. “I think the thing here, is what’s changed is kind of the culture. The culture of baseball, it’s the clubhouse, people coming in being accountable for themselves. Just little things like that have changed.”