Ortiz questions Pettitte's return

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Ortiz questions Pettitte's return

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- News that veteran lefty Andy Pettitte had ended his retirement and agreed to return to pitch for the New York Yankees Friday was met some degree of scepticism by the Red Sox.

"I don't think he's coming back to where he was -- call it a hunch,'' said manager Bobby Valentine when asked about the news. "But he's a good pitcher. I always respected Andy; always thought he was a borderline Hall of Famer. Add someone like that to your staff, you're doing good.''

Earlier, Valentine joked about Pettitte's comeback, playfully asking: "Is he going to be a starter? Or just come in to pick people off?''
That was a joking reference to Pettitte's notorious pickoff move to first base, which for years was one of the most effective in the game.

Said David Ortiz: "It doesn't make any sense -- stop and then come back? You're going to be behind, from what I see. I don't know. Everybody's got their reasons.''

Asked if pitchers might fare better than position players following a year off, Ortiz said: "It's not easy for anybody. This ain't an easy game to play . . . What are we, robots or something? We have the ability to play the game but that doesn't mean that we're always going to be on top of our game, forever. You know what I'm saying?

"The Yankees are giving him the chance to come back and perform because they think he can come back and perform. But he's not 25 anymore. So the Yankees also know they're running the risk of him coming back and not performing well. He took a year off and he's what . . . almost 40 now? (NOTE: Pettitte will turn 40 in June.) All of that is going against him.''

Asked if more players might adapt the same strategy of retiring briefly only to return, Ortiz said: "I won't. I'm going to play and when I stop, I stop.''

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.