Son's birth changes Papelbon's plans

BOSTON -- Jonathan Papelbon may receive credit for a win Saturday even though he isn't at Fenway Park.

Papelbon was the pitcher of record for the Red Sox when play was suspended Friday night after 8 1/2 innings with the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox tied at 1. Papelbon had just struck out B.J. Upton, with Carlos Pena on second as the potential winning run, when umpiring crew chief Brian Gorman stopped play.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he planned to have Papelbon resume pitching if the game went into extra innings, but there was a catch: Papelbon's wife, Ashley, was at the hospital Saturday afternoon, delivering the couple's second child. Her husband was with her.

"I don't think the umbilical cord will reach the mound,'' Francona said.

"That'll be a tough call to make,'' the manager said, imagining a call to Papelbon at the hospital. "'Kick her in the backside. Let's go.'''

The idea was that if the baby was born in time, Papelbon would pitch. If not, Daniel Bard would get the call, Francona said.

Just before 6 p.m. on Saturday, the Red Sox announced that Gunner Robert Papelbon had arrived in the world, and that Papelbon would not be coming to the ballpark Saturday night.

The couple also has a 2-year-old daughter, Parker.

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.