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Johnny Damon Papelbon DESERVES to Party His Face Off

10/12/2011 6:00 AM PDT

Former Boston Red Sox stud Johnny Damon says his former teammate Jonathan Papelbon earned himself the right to party in New Orleans last weekend ... despite the fact the Sox had just skidded their way out of the playoffs.

Damon -- who played for Tampa Bay last season -- was leaving Boa in Hollywood last night ... when we asked about the photos of the Red Sox closer firing off beads on Bourbon street.

Damon replied, "[losing is] never easy and Jonathan Papelbon has had a great career so far ... so he can do whatever he wants."

He added, "I'm glad he's enjoying himself, I wish he was on my team."

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