“I’ve spoken to Drew,” said Papelbon, speaking at Marlins Park. “I told Drew ‘I don’t want to come here unless you talk to (Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo) and everyone’s OK with it. I don’t want to come here and upset anyone. I just want to come here and win.’ I think that Drew realized that.”
Papelbon assumes the closer role with just over two months left in the season despite Storen converting 29 of 31 save opportunities to this point. Storen, who transitions to the eighth-inning set-up spot, chose not to offer his feelings after the deal was made to acquire Papelbon from the Phillies on Tuesday.
“It’s very hard for Drew and I get that and understand that, but Drew’s a professional,” Papelbon said. “He has tremendous stuff and there’s gonna be days where Drew’s gonna have to pick me up and there’s gonna be days where I’m gonna have to pick Drew up. It’s the only way that it’s gonna work, and the only way we’re gonna be successful is if we do it that way.”
Speaking before tonight’s game, Nationals manager Matt Williams indicated he has no concerns with Storen’s mental approach to his new spot in the bullpen.
“I had that discussion with Drew and he expressed to me that he’s ready to pitch,” Williams said. “If he gets in a game, he’s in there to get three outs regardless of the situation. He understands that we’ve added somebody that will make us a better team, and his obligation when he gets in there is to get those outs, regardless. That’s a good mindset to have. It’s never any fun for anybody, but he’s a pro, and he understands that him having a good approach out there will do nothing but help us win.”
Washington enters play tonight holding a one-game lead in the National League East. The results of Rizzo’s bold move and any effects on Storen figure to be judged into the fall. The uber-confident Papelbon isn’t worried.
“I imagine that we’ll be able to create a good (rapport) and be able to go out there and be a 1-2 punch in baseball that is feared and can help us hoist a trophy at the end with champagne all over it,” Papelbon said.