Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Papelbon decries Phillies' leadership

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CLEARWATER — Looking back at the Phillies' disappointing 2012 (81-81), closer Jonathan Papelbon cited a lack of leadership without blaming 2B Chase Utley's knees, 1B Ryan Howard's Achilles tendon or RHP Roy Halladay's shoulder.

"It was an all-around leadership void from A to Z," he told the Allentown Morning Call.

He did not distance himself Friday from the remarks but said, "I love this clubhouse."

"I put myself in that category," Papelbon said. "I don't feel like I took a certain leadership (role) as much as I could have with the guys in the bullpen. And I intend to make that change this year. I hope that other guys on this team feel the same way as I do."

Manager Charlie Manuel indicated he previously talked to the pitcher about his concerns and chalked up his remarks to frustration.

"When he came over here, we had just won 102 games," Manuel said. "He thought we were going to hit homers. He thought we were going to pitch shutouts and be in close games. He might have been a little bit disappointed in what he saw because we had injuries and did not play well."

Opener: LHP Cole Hamels starts today against the Astros. Among those who will follow: Halladay, LHP Cliff Lee and RHP Kyle Kendrick.

Yankees: Rivera back

TAMPA — Yankees RHP Mariano Rivera threw 25 pitches in his first batting practice session since knee surgery last year.

"It feels great to be on the mound," said the closer, who expects to throw one or two more sessions. "Basically just wanted to see hitters. I'm excited. Build up, and we'll go from there."

Rivera, 43, missed almost all of last year with a torn right ACL sustained while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice.

"He looked great," manager Joe Girardi said. "Looked like what you'd expect him to look like."

Opener: RHP David Phelps starts today at Atlanta. Among those who will follow: RHP Brett Marshall, LHP Nik Turley, RHP Mikey O'Brien.

Jays: Platoon Lind?

DUNEDIN — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he will monitor how 3B/DH Adam Lind handles left-handers.

The left-handed hitter had just a .202 average against lefties last season and has a .220 average against them for his career. In contrast, he has hit .282 against righties. That has Toronto debating if he will play every day or in a platoon.

"He has to get his timing (first)," Gibbons said. "Timing is a big thing this time of the year. But we'll see how the swings look."

One platoon option is Colby Rasmus, who hit .182 against lefties in 2012 compared with .238 against righties. But Gibbons downplayed that.

"We're really focused on Lind," Gibbons said. "Colby, we'll give him a day off every now and then against a tough lefty. But (platooning) hasn't been a focal point."

Opener: RHP Brandon Morrow starts today at the Tigers. Among those who will follow: RHP Brad Lincoln, RHP Steve Delabar and RHP Esmil Rogers.

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