Jonathan Papelbon has a message for Philadelphia Phillies fans: Bring it on.
The Phillies closer, who had allowed four runs over his last two appearances, was welcomed to the mound Thursday night with a smattering off boos from his home fans at Citizens Bank Park.
It was harsh treatment for a pitcher who’s surrendered just nine runs all season, but Papelbon told reporters after the game that he feeds off the hate.
“I enjoy it,” he said, via CSNPhilly.com. “I just think that it’s fun. It just brings a little bit of energy and life to the park and gives me a little bit of something to look forward to do every day.
“I heard some of them. But that’s it? Maybe we can get the whole park going here soon.”
Papelbon rebounded from his two rough outings — a blown save Tuesday and a loss Wednesday — to toss a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 24th save in a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.
The five-time All-Star has been one of the few bright spots for the last-place Phillies this season. Papelbon has made it known that he wouldn’t mind being traded to a contender, but until that day comes, he knows what to expect from the Philly faithful.
“Of course, man, I play in Philadelphia,” Papelbon said when asked if he’s ever heckled in the bullpen. “Yeah, there’s some good ones. I can’t really say them on camera. But there’s some good ones. You get a chuckle every now and then.
“It doesn’t bother me, man. I enjoy playing here. I really do. It’s all part of the territory, man.”
Photo via USA Today Sports Images