Jonathan Papelbon had his fair share of memorable saves with the Boston Red Sox, but his latest has to be near the top of his career list.
The Philadelphia Phillies closer shut the door on the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to record his 300th career save, becoming just the 26th pitcher in major league history to reach the milestone.
“It means a lot to me, more than what most people would probably think,” Papelbon said after the game, via CSNPhilly.com.
Papelbon’s place in the record books wasn’t always set in stone, as the right-hander came very close to avoiding the bullpen altogether when he made his MLB debut with Boston in 2005.
“I started this a long time ago and I was supposed to be a starter,” Papelbon said. “(Former Red Sox general manager) Theo Epstein wanted to make me a starter and I told him I didn’t want to be a starter. It’s been a long journey since then. I don’t know how happy he was when I told him I wanted to do that, but it’s all turned out the way I expected it and hoped it would.”
Papelbon went on to record 219 saves over seven seasons in Boston, making four consecutive All-Star appearances from 2006 to 2009 and helping the Red Sox win their second World Series in four years in 2007.
Papelbon is in his 10th major league season, but the 33-year-old insists he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
“I got to keep working hard and keep putting in the work to stay healthy and hopefully try to get another 300 if I stay healthy,” he said.