Jonathan Papelbon needs to pick up the pace. Not on the field, where he is tied for the American League lead with 16 saves. But in getting there.
According to report this morning by Maureen Mullen of the Lynn Daily Item, Papelbon was fined $1,000 by the league earlier this week for violating pace-of-game guidelines. His infractions have come while he is entering the game.
A source told Mullen that the time from the third out of one half-inning to the first pitch of the next half-inning is supposed to be 2 minutes 5 seconds for local TV games, 2:25 for national TV weeknight games, and 2:30 for TV games on the weekend. According to Mullen's report, it took Papelbon 3:34 between the final out in the bottom of the eighth and the first pitch in the top of the ninth Wednesday night.
Papelbon, who was reprimanded last year for the same reason and has been warned this year, told Mullen before last night's game that he understood the fine.
“The rules are the rules,” he said. “But, I’m trying to figure out ways to where I can not get fined. Obviously, I don’t want to get fined or slow the game down, or be a nuisance to slow the game down. The fans want to see games that are three hours or so. I’m trying to figure that out right now to not get those fines, for sure.”
Should Papelbon violate the rule again, he will be fined $3,000, with a third violation costing him $7,000 with the possibility of suspension.