PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathan Papelbon could make Phillies history in the next few weeks, but will anybody care -- including himself?
Papelbon picked up a four-out save Wednesday in a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park, although Hanley Ramirez came a few feet from hitting a grand slam against him in the eighth. It was the 107th save of Papelbon's Phillies career. He needs just six more to pass Jose Mesa's 112 for the franchise record.
It would be a heck of an accomplishment for Papelbon, whose 219 saves with the Red Sox is a franchise record.
"Having an opportunity to be the saves career leader in two historic franchises means a lot to me, and I don't take that lightly by any means," he said.
But before the game, Papelbon told The Boston Globe that despite signing a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies he does not "really feel much like a Phillie." That should not surprise anybody. Papelbon has made his frustrations with Philadelphia well known numerous times over the past few years.
Asked about Wednesday's comments to the Globe, Papelbon said, "What is a Phillie? What is a Phillie? A horse? That's what it is? I feel like a horse, yeah. I feel like a horse. I felt like a horse tonight, yeah."
Actually, it's the team with the red pinstripes.
"Yeah, of course," he said.
Papelbon finally explained.
"It's like, 'Where are you from?'" he said. "I'm from Baton Rouge, La. So that's what I will always say. That's where I feel like I'm from, that's where I grew up, that's where my roots are. So you ask me what runs deep in you, the Red Sox still run deep in me. It's where I'm from, it's where I grew up, it's who I became as a pitcher, so it will always stick with me no matter what. Doesn't really change how I go about my business."
Interestingly, the Red Sox expressed no interest in bringing back Papelbon following the 2011 season. He said he does not feel slighted.
"No. It's business, baby. Straight cash," he said.
Papelbon could make another $13 million next season if he finishes just 47 more games this year. (It will trigger a vesting club option.) But will he still be in Philadelphia? The Phillies have been trying to trade him for some time, but without success.
Until that happens, he will have to live with the Phillies.
"Like I said earlier, I feel like the Red Sox run deep in my blood," he said. "It's who I became as a pitcher. That will always stick with me. It's like any time you have to move on. You have to adapt to a new team, and I haven't had any problem doing that here."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.