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Red Sox believe Papelbon is the real deal

In rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox may just have the second coming of Mariano Rivera.

Originally Published: May 9, 2006
By Sean McAdam | Special to ESPN.com

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was chatting with a visitor in spring training when the talk turned to Jonathan Papelbon.

"If he's our closer,'' Francona ventured, "he'll be an All-Star.''

Two months ago, such a statement bordered on the absurd. Papelbon didn't have a single save to his credit in his brief major league career, and the Sox -- publicly at least -- were touting the imminent return of Keith Foulke, their 2004 postseason savior who was limited by two knee surgeries last season.

In ...

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