Papelbon: 'They don't pay me to think'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon sat down Monday morning after long-tossing with Jon Lester for a half-hour conversation in which he touched upon a number of subjects, including his impending free agency, Boston’s signing of closer Bobby Jenks and their offer to another, Mariano Rivera.

Here are a few highlights from that conversation; we’ll have a more in-depth look later:

* On whether he had questions about where he fit in when the Sox signed Jenks:

“Yeah, I think it’s natural man, its human. ‘OK, well they’re signing another great closer and you know what are they planning to do with him, what are they planning to do with me, blah, blah, blah.' I think your natural instincts, you ask yourself questions, but I think a day later they were all answered.

“At first I didn’t know what to think, but Theo [Epstein] left me a voice mail, I talked with Tito [Terry Francona]. I think they did a real good job with that. Theo did a real good job of saying, ‘This is the bullpen I’ve got, that I’m putting together. This is the bullpen I’m going try and win a World Series with.' You can’t fault anybody for that.’’

* His reaction when he heard that the Sox had made a two-year offer to Mariano Rivera:

“I laughed. I did. And I laughed because it was like, ‘Wow, this is getting kind of crazy. Oh my God, what’s going on here?’ But that’s part of the business side of things. That was a pretty high-intensity week.

“Would Mo have ever accepted? I don’t know, man, you’ve got to ask Mo. Who knows?’’

* On his pending free agency after the season:

“I’m not really concerned with that. I’m not worried about that. The whole goal objective this year is to kind of use my filter, use that sifter, and kind of take what I need to be successful this year and let go of what I don’t. Things are going to happen are that going to happen.

“They don’t pay me to think. If I’m a thinker, then I’m not a closer. That’s the way I look at it, man. I don’t think, man, I just do. Sometimes that gets me into trouble.’’

* On the likelihood that fans and others will be calling for change as soon as he blows a save or two:

“There will be, for sure. I understand that. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t worry about those things. I don’t know why. It’s not that I don’t care. I guess I’m just confident enough in my own ability. I can go get the job done in Boston with a great group of guys, or in Japan if I have to. I’m just that way.’’