Quote of the Day: Jonathan Papelbon explains what it takes to close

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Jonathan Papelbon was relaxed after yesterday’s game and spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI.  Specifically, he talked about the fine art of closing:

And what about the idea of former bullpen-mate Alfredo Aceves taking up his former closers role with the Sox?

“I think he definitely can [be a closer]. He’s got [expletives] of steel,” Papelbon said. “That’s what it takes. You’ve got to have a big set of doberman [expletives] to close.”

Philosophical question 1: If you know exactly what the word is that you’re slapping the [expletive] tag on, do you still have to do it?  I do it too with little asterisks for Class-A profanity, but I still feel weird about it. Here, though, I think we can all agree that you can say “balls,” right?

Philosophical question 2: When a closer can no longer close, is it because he’s been neutered?

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.

Phillies release veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

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The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.

Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.