Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Papelbon Chalks a Gem; Francona Backs Foulke

Boston manager Terry Francona has so often repeated that Keith Foulke is his closer that even Francona may be starting to believe it. Speculation remained rife, however, that 25-year-old Jonathan Papelbon will not relinquish the job after Papelbon picked up his fourth save by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth in Tuesday's 5-4 victory over Toronto. Foulke meanwhile gave up three deep flies in the eighth, one for a single and one for a homer. Francona has insisted that Foulke will return to the closer's spot when he recovers his form, and Papelbon will set up in the bullpen to await his development as a starter.