Results tagged ‘ Bobby Valentine ’
Funny how timing can be. With the rampant speculation about Bobby Valentine’s future with the Red Sox, what better time for John Farrell and the Blue Jays to come to town?
It is a poorly-kept secret that Farrell was likely the top choice to succeed Terry Francona as Boston’s manager following last season, but the Blue Jays had no interest in freeing him from his contract.
Maybe things have changed a little a year later. The Blue Jays, much like the Red Sox, are having an unsuccessful season in which they’ve been ravaged by injuries. Now, Farrell has just one season left on his contract.
If the Red Sox decide that Valentine — who also has one year left on his contract — isn’t their manager beyond this season, you’d like to think a deal could be worked out with Toronto for Farrell.
Anyway, with limbo being the obvious way to describe the current situation, here are some thoughts from Farrell:
“There’s a lot of speculation, obviously, but as I said last week in Toronto. I’m the manager of the Blue Jays. This is where my focus and commitment is. I’m under contract. That’s obvious,” Farrell said. “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. At the same time, we’ve dealt with a lot of challenges ourselves. I can understand the natural connection, because I’ve worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly with the Blue Jays.”
“I don’t look at other situations, because my focus is here. We’ve got a lot of challenges ourselves with getting guys back on the field. I’ll say this – knowing what the Red Sox have gone through, with the amount of players they’ve lost to injury, I can empathize with Bobby and having to deal with a lot of changes to the roster. And because of that change, you’re always trying to filter in new guys and get an understanding of what their capabilities are and how you can best utilize them to win a ballgame.
Did Farrell expect there to be such a buzz surrounding his latest return to Boston? “I don’t know that you can fully anticipate anything. You understand there are articles written, there’s things that are out there. With respect to everyone involved, my focus is right here in this dugout in this uniform.
If Farrell stayed in Toronto, would he want assurances beyond next season, asked Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston?
“Gordon, you’re putting the cart way before the horse with that. My contract is through 2013. My approach day in and day out doesn’t hinge upon my status. My focus and attention is today, right here. ”
Boston vs. Toronto? “Any place is going to have its own uniqueness to it. Managing is an honor. It’s a challenge at the same time. Different positions have different sets of challenges that are connected to them. Regardless of where you are, the focus remains on your task and duties at hand and doing the best job that you’re capable of at the time and that’s my focus right now, the challenge the Blue Jays have to face.
On what Terry Francona accomplished. “Having been in that dugout for four years, you do get the opportunity and the privilege to see it firsthand. He was a very successful manager, balanced a lot of different things both inside and out, he did a very good job. The history and the record speaks to that.”
“Through it all, through the ups and downs along the way, the one thing Tito always talked about was be true to yourself. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you did what you felt was the right thing to do, and that being the players come first, as long as you keep the players first in your decision-making and your thoughts toward them individually, you’re probably guided in the right direction to the right thing.”
Obviously, managers in Boston are under tremendous scrutiny. “I’ve never managed in Boston. I’ve only managed in one place, and that’s right here in Toronto. Having worked in Boston, sure, there’s a tremendous fan base that’s very passionate, the expectations are very high, but as a competitor, that’s what you aspire to do and be involved in.”
More on empathizing with Bobby V.
“As a manager, yes. We’ve had a lot of the same situations unfold, and it’s not easy. Its definitely not easy. We come in here today with a rotation that’s mapped out, and yet you come into the ballpark, you’re waiting for the next phone call, and in this case it’s J.A. Happ is out for the year. Not are you on Plan A or B; right now both teams are on Plan T or U. That’s where we’re at.”
How much does Farrell enjoy managing? “I love it. It’s an honor to be in the position entrusted with the team, to run a team at field level, and that’s never taken lightly. I can’t wait to get to the ballpark every day.”
Obviously, Farrell still has ties in the Red Sox organization.
“I had the fortunate ability to work closely with guys that I respect and guys that we have history even prior to working here in Boston, whether it was Mike Hazen and I running the farm system in Cleveland. Not only are they professional colleagues, on some level they became personal friends. We had success, we shared a lot of challenges along the way. That’s what you would hope would take place having worked for a number of years in one place or another.”
David Ortiz’s prolonged rehab from a right Achilles strain might finally be coming to an end, as Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine revealed that the big slugger might be activated for Friday night’s game against the Royals.
“It looked like David got through everything perfectly today,” said Valentine. “He was running the bases. Today was the day he was going to run the bases, which he hadn’t done yet. He had run sprints and done other things. Today he ran the bases. They’re going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through it, we’re planning on hopefully activating him tomorrow, but that’s the update of updates.”
Ortiz last played for the Red Sox on July 16. The Red Sox are 13-21 without him.
In other news, Felix Doubront will make his return to the rotation on Sunday. Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the ball Monday, but it sounds like that will be for Triple-A Pawtucket instead of the Red Sox.
Adrian Gonzalez will take a night to rest his legs and serve as the DH. Mauro Gomez is starting at first base. Ryan Lavarnway is behind the plate against lefty C.J. Wilson.
The Red Sox will have a summit meeting of sorts on Monday to determine whether Carl Crawford should continue to play, or undergo Tommy John Surgery to repair the UCL injury he’s been playing with in his left elbow.
“Ben and I just talked about it and you know, when he can’t play, he tells me he can’t play and I haven’t heard that today,” said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. “Tomorrow, we have an off-day and we’ll take that time to talk with Carl and the doctors and kind of get to the bottom of this entire situation.”
Red Sox ownership has given manager Bobby Valentine multiple votes of confidence over the last week, but team president/CEO Larry Lucchino was most definitive when he said that there won’t be a managerial change before the end of the 2012 season.
Lucchino, doing a radio interview for WEEI on Thursday morning, answered with one word when asked unequivocally if Valentine will manage the team for the rest of the season: “Yes.”
One thing Lucchino was clearly upset about during the interview is that someone leaked details of a round-table meeting that owners had with players back on July 26 in New York.
“Whatever report came out about it is the first of its kind over 10 and a half years,” Lucchino said. “More than that, the report’s exaggerated and inaccurate. Beyond that, I would be violating our code or our principals if I talked about the content of it and what was said and what was not said by whom.”
Lucchino hasn’t given up on the Red Sox making it to the postseason, even if they are 6 1/2 games out in the Wild Card stands with 44 to play.
“If that happens, we’ll be talking about a comeback for the ages, so let’s be realistic about it,” Lucchino told WEEI. “I want to see us play winning, intense, competitive baseball for the rest of this season as well and let the record develop as it does. We need to start fixing what’s wrong with this club and need all the data we’re going to get over the next 44 games.”
Red Sox owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington made it clear before Monday night’s game against the Rangers that Bobby Valentine isn’t going to be made a scapegoat for the team’s disappointing season to date.
“To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong,” Henry wrote in an email to reporters. “A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.
“In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, ‘This isn’t working so the manager needs to go.’ But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.”
The Boston Herald suggested on Monday that it was time for the Sox to make a change in the dugout. General manager Ben Cherington didn’t seem to agree.
“Bobby’s our manager, and we’re not looking at anyone else,” Cherington said in the dugout before Monday’s game. “He’s as committed to managing the team as he ever has been, and we’re committed to him and trying to do everything we can to support him and make this work.”
Valentine seemed unfazed by the situation prior to Monday’s game.
“I try not to be surprised. It comes with the territory,” Valentine said. “I just come to work and try to do the best that I can do. I can’t control [the] thought process, that’s for sure.”
Does Valentine feel he is managing to save his job?
“I have no idea, I manage for my job every day I think,” he said. “I try to give my best every day that I come out.”
Some good news on the Red Sox’ injury front. Josh Beckett appears over the back spasm that forced him off the mound in the third inning of his start on July 31 against the Tigers, and Bobby Valentine has penciled in the righty to pitch on Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers.
Beckett went out to right field for some flat-ground and long-toss work before Saturday’s game, and appeared to be throwing with ease, as he got out to 120 feet.
The plan is that he will test his back again with a bullpen session again on Monday, and will be slotted in for Wednesday as long as that goes well.
The side effect if Beckett can return is that it could give Felix Doubront an extra day of rest. Doubront will easily surpass a career-high in innings pitched this season, In fact, he’ll probably do it by his next start.
It was a bizarre Saturday afternoon in the Red Sox clubhouse. ESPN color commentator Terry Francona held court with roughly a half dozen Red Sox players near Dustin Pedroia’s locker. As Francona initially sat down with just Cody Ross, Pedroia sidled up to him. Next thing you know, there were six or seven players (from Clay Buchholz to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Nick Punto to David Ortiz) having a grand old time with Francona, which presented a semi-awkward scene for current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. By the way, Valentine didn’t see the scene as it was happening, but was told about it after the fact.
But before you know it, things got even stranger. When asked why Carl Crawford wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday, Valentine said it was part of a four-day plan mandated by the training staff. Crawford shouldn’t play more than four days, or games, in a row. Of course, Valentine broke his own rule when Crawford initially came back, playing him six days in a row.
Valentine was candid about the fact he blew off this plan earlier this month, when he wound up playing Crawford six days in a row when he came off the disabled list.
“Actually, I did a manager no-no thing and went against what I was told to do. Never to be done again,” Valentine said. “They told me before that game that he wasn’t playing, and I kind of did the old veto power. ‘Who says he’s not playing?’ And I played him.”
Crawford has a strained UCL in his left elbow and is all but certain to undergo Tommy John ligament transfer surgery before the start of the 2013 season.
The Red Sox actually had a day off on Thursday, which meant Valentine had the leeway to play him on Saturday. But the Red Sox are facing three straight righties beginning on Sunday, so Valentine felt it would be more beneficial to have him in the lineup for those games.
“My understanding is that I got today off and I know the medical people want me to get rest,” Crawford said. “I’m not really sure what’s the program on it. I guess that’s the way it is right now. I came here ready to play, like I always do. I found out this morning I wasn’t playing. That’s it, pretty much. Could I play? Yeah, I could play today. Like I say, they’re following that method right there. I’m just going along with the way things are.”
It is a unique situation for everyone involved – particularly Valentine.
“I’d like to have Carl every day,” said Valentine. “I’d like to have all my good players every day, but I understand the situation better now than I did then.”
Crawford was on the bench Saturday, despite his .319 career average against CC Sabathia.
If the Red Sox seem a little more comfortable in Texas than other road spots, there’s good reason. Their team is surrounded by players who have Texas roots.
Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey all hail from the Lone Star State, as do Scott Atchison, Matt Albers, Kelly Shoppach, Carl Crawford and Will Middlebrooks.
Monday was particularly special for Middlebrooks, who grew up a Rangers fan, living about two and a half hours from Arlington. This was his first Major League game in Arlington, though he played here in high school All-Star Games.
“I remember how hot it was. It was in July before my senior year of high school. I don’t remember much. It was an All-Star game or something,” said Middlebrooks. “I grew up in Texarcarna which is like two hours from here. But I live here in the offseason now. I have a lot of friends here. I came to a lot of games out here. I’m excited to play here. It’s a fun place. When I was a kid, i remember watching Juan Gonzalez, Pudge. Who else was here? Rusty Greer. A-Rod for a little bit.”
Manager Bobby Valentine also has deep roots in Texas, as the Rangers gave him his start in Major League managing from 1985-92. His son still lives here, and Valentine said he has several friends in the Arlington area.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit a mammoth home run tonight, played for the Rangers for parts of four seasons before coming to Boston. Adrian Gonzalez played 59 games for the Rangers over two seasons.
The Red Sox are going to have a decision to make on Aaron Cook, who makes his final start at Triple-A Pawtucket tonight. The righty has an opt-out clause he can exercise if he’s not activated by the early portion of next week.
With no vacancies in the starting rotation, manager Bobby Valentine and pitching coach Bob McClure said that Cook might be an option out of the bullpen, something that didn’t seem feasible back in Spring Training.
“Bob McClure thinks that after talking with him that it’s feasible,” said Valentine. “Initially there was no [consideration]. I think I told you guys initially in Spring Training, that was a nonfactor. It was a non consideration. Reports are that he’s never felt better about his shoulder, or he hasn’t felt this good about his shoulder in a long time.”
At least for now, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine wants to stick with Alfredo Aceves in the ninth inning. Mark Melancon will also still be asked to get important outs.
“Everything happened so quickly,” Valentine said. “He thinks he’s making pretty good pitches. I do too. Mark was pretty close to finishing that out. The ball wasn’t that bad a pitch. It’s not like we say make up something to new and we have to come up with something different. We’ve got to have a little better results and I think we’ll have that.”
Valentine didn’t hide from the awkwardness of the Daniel Bard situation, knowing full well that there’s he public perception that he should be closing.
“We’ve talked and he gets it,” Valentine said. “Poor guy has been thrown into a situation that no one should have to be thrown into really before his first major league start of the season. Words aren’t going to do anything more than his performance will, that’s for sure.”
The lineup is back to what it was the first two games, except Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz won’t be back to back. Youkilis will hit cleanup, separating the lefty sluggers.
“I don’t think I really need to say why. There might be a little madness there though,” Valentine said.
Youkilis went hitless in his first two games, so this could be a way for him to get better pitches to hit.