Notes: Papelbon preparing as starter

Notes: Papelbon preparing as starter

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jonathan Papelbon isn't getting his hopes up that his boyhood idol will be joining him as a new teammate anytime soon.

The Red Sox right-hander, who will begin training camp as a starter, said Saturday that he's trying to be realistic about the chances of Roger Clemens coming to Boston.

"In a sense, it would be great to play with a guy like that but, personally, I don't think he'll be coming to us just because I think he's set in Texas and is happy there," Papelbon predicted after his 15-minute side session. "Yeah, it would be great to play with a guy like that, but I'm not worried about it."

Something else Papelbon said he's not worried about is his role on the Red Sox's pitching staff. Whether it's as the fifth starter or as a setup man for Keith Foulke, the 25-year-old said he would let the chips fall where they may.

"For me, it's just a matter of going out there, proving myself and keep letting Tito [manager Terry Francona] and [general manager Theo Epstein] and all the guys around me know that I'm here to win and I'm here to contribute in any way I can."

If he winds up starting, Papelbon can thank Curt Schilling for being a big fan.

"I'm obviously lobbying for him to be a starter because I believe someone who can pitch 200 innings is going to help us more than pitching 60," Schilling said. "I talked to Theo about it and he rolled his eyes like he usually does."

But Papelbon maintained his perspective Saturday.

"I'm not worried about it," the right-hander continued. "Whenever Tito gives me the ball, I'm going to go out there and try to help the club out, that's it. I'm sure I'm going to have a sitdown with him and Theo and figure out what my plan is so I don't go into the season not knowing, and go into the season with some confidence."

Epstein confirmed Saturday the wisdom of that approach, but added that Papelbon will work in camp as a starter.

"That remains to be seen," the Red Sox general manager said. "Tito is going to talk with him in the first couple days of camp, and he's going to be stretched out and go through Spring Training as a starting pitcher. We have as many as seven starting pitchers, but those things have a way of working themselves out through camp, and you can't get ready, as a reliever, and all of sudden be ready to start. That's the way we're going to approach it with all of these starting pitchers."

Wallace update: Pitching coach Dave Wallace continues to recover from a hip infection last month. Epstein updated his condition Saturday.

"I saw him last Wednesday," Epstein said. "He's doing better and he's still on the antibiotics. It's our hope he can join us in three weeks."

Until that time, bullpen coach Al Nipper will serve as the interim pitching coach.

Sunday arrivals: Epstein said Saturday that David Wells is in the area, and he is expected in Fort Myers on Sunday morning in time to take his physical. The Red Sox GM added that another star player who has made trade demands, Manny Ramirez, is expect to show up on time next week.

All things Schilling: Francona made the following observation about Schilling's appearance in camp Saturday.

"Schill's never going to be a male model," the Sox skipper said. "He looks terrific. He's in camp and I expect Schill to get on the mound and have his direction to the plate be really good. Last year, he had to work his way through it. He had to pick his leg up [in windup] and stop. He'll be competing right out of the gate and not rehabbing. In four years, I've watched Schill fall off the mound four times, and last year in bullpen sessions, it was six or seven times. That won't happen. I think he's excited about being healthy."

Schilling also had a response to the GQ article that ranked him as the fourth-most hated player in sports.

"I talked to my wife because I thought she was feeding them," Schilling joked. "But seriously, that story is what it is. Some people don't like you and you leave it at that."

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.