A scout's take

On Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox 25-year-old right-hander


Pitches -- "He has a plus fastball that goes up to 98 mph. His slider is tight, a power slider that he really locates well. The slider is his out pitch. He also has a changeup, but I am not sure he needs it in [the closer's] role. But he is a three-pitch guy."

Mentality -- "He's one of those guys that's caught in between and ultimately you have to figure out what to do with him because he is handling the closer's role so well, the mental side of it. He's handled the pressure and everything that goes with it amazingly well. They are going to have to make a decision on him because he could be a top-of-the-rotation starter."


Intangibles -- "He reminds me of [Minnesota's] Joe Nathan. There is no doubt in my mind that he is pretty special. He has good command, mechanics and plus stuff, and a good feel for pitching. He's a pretty fun guy to watch."

Note: "A scout's take" features the opinion of one major league scout on a particular player each week. A revolving roundtable of scouts is used. Because of potential tampering, the scouts will remain anonymous.

Say what?

"As far as I can tell, there's no documented injuries from tarp slides, but I understand the team has to protect itself from injury."

Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko on club ace Mark Buehrle, whom the team's general manager has threatened to fine if he continues to slide around the slick infield tarp during rain delays

Numbing number


The number of times New York Yankees left-hander Randy Johnson has had a lead of four runs or more in his career. He is 145-1 in those games, with the only loss coming Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.


What's up?

The Reds invade D.C.

Forces of nature collide for three days starting tomorrow in Washington. The homer-bashing Cincinnati Reds will play at RFK Stadium, where long fly balls go to die. Should be an interesting lesson in physics. The Orioles get their first look at the revamped Blue Jays and their new, $47 million closer, B.J. Ryan, starting Tuesday in Canada. And the White Sox visit Anaheim this weekend for the first time since winning the 2005 American League Championship Series.