Henry: No one asked for Valentine to be fired

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Henry: No one asked for Valentine to be fired

Red Sox owner John Henry confirmed that the team held a meeting in New York in late July, but says no players "took the position that manager Bobby Valentine should be or needed to be replaced" and, indeed, took responsibility themselves for the club's poor season.

"What co-owner Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record," Henry wrote in an e-mail sent to media members. "They weren't blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points . . . "

Henry said he "asked for" the meeting, which contradicts the Yahoo! Sports report that the players requested, via text, to meet with ownership. He added he requested a similar meeting in the championship season of 2004 and "it closely resembled last month's meeting . . . focusing on what do we need to do to turn things around."

Meetings between ownership and players have been common since the HenryWernerLucchino group took control of the Red Sox in 2002.

"Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework," wrote Henry. "But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about what it takes to win what can we all do to improve our ability to win?"

This is the first meeting, however, that was leaked to the media. which disappointed Henry:

"For more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information."

He concluded with a direct message to the fans:

"I understand that when the team isn't playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized. But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver."

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.