With all the talk of Drew’s back, Lowell’s hip, Penny’s shoulder and Papi’s knees (God help us), there’s a veritable quagmire of bad vibes to sink down in. But I’m trying my best to stay focused on the positive. Like a feisty, MVP-defending Pedroia. And a ready-to-recapture-his-2007-form Beckett. And the fact that the PapelBot is adding another weapon to his arsenal:

Papelbon is reincorporating his slider — a pitch he last used with any real frequency three years ago — this spring, trying to make himself more unpredictable while making his fastball even more effective. He threw a pair of sliders today, inducing a whiff and a called strike.

“Today, I felt like I wanted to go out there and threw my slider more,” Papelbon said. “For me, that’s going to be huge down the road. I just have to keep adding on to that. It’s a pitch I’m going to start to throw more as spring goes and start to throw more this season, for sure.

“For me, I feel like it’s time to give those hitters something else to look at. For me, adding another pitch is only going to make me better. It felt really good today. I’m really pleased about it.”

“I’m always trying to come up with new and exciting pitches,” Papelbon said wryly.


In other news, we are constantly bombarded with e-mails asking, “How many other ways, beyond this here blog, can I fold a little more Red and Denton into my life?” Well, first, we thank our Aunts for writing all those e-mails. Second, if you truly just can’t get enough, we encourage you to join our Facebook group, where you can, uh, read most of the same stuff you see here… but on Facebook! If you’re the sort of chap (or chapette) who wants to know what Denton’s having for lunch, you can follow us on Twitter. If you’re heading to a desert island without a laptop and/or toothbrush, you can bring along a copy of Surviving Grady: The Book, and re-live the 2004 championship season until the wheels fall off. If that’s not enough, for fifty bucks, Denton will actually come to your house, drink up a few of your beers, and offer live commentary on the Sox game or whatever other event happens to be going on (bar mitzvah, tetra breeding, etc). Of course, we’d have to clear it with his parole officer, but I think it’ll be okay.

Stick with us in 2009, folks. We won’t let ya down.