BALTIMORE Dustin Pedroia didnt want to talk about player meetings or photo ops with Bobby Valentine prior to Tuesday nights game against the Orioles.
After the Red Sox had their brains beaten in by the Os by a 7-1 score, though, Pedroia was willing to finally open up a little bit about a Yahoo! Sports report that the second baseman and Adrian Gonzalez were trying to get Valentine fired during a late July meeting with Sox management and ownership. Pedroia told CSNNE.com that I just want to play baseball, man when asked about it prior to the game, and denied he was trying to get Valentine fired following the game.
I dont want Bobby to get fired. We havent played well . . . thats the bottom line. Im not blaming Bobby and I dont think anybody does, said Pedroia. Its on the players. Last year wasnt on Tito Francona. I know he took it hard. We all did. But, geez, this is on the players.
Skipper and second baseman held a meeting earlier in the year when Pedroia called Valentine out for his critical comments on Kevin Youkilis before the Sox corner infielder was traded away. But Pedroia said it was more about an organizational meeting where the players, coaches and managementownership gathered in New York to air concerns on all sides.
The fact it happened as the Sox had just lost five out of six games to the Blue Jays and the Rangers with only days to go until the trade deadline certainly seemed like it must have been a boiling point for the players. According to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Gonzalez fired off an angry text message to ownership requesting the meeting, and Pedroia blasted Valentine once things got underway.
But the second baseman denied all of that when asked his thoughts about the report following another bad defeat.
I havent really read it all. Its tough. Ill be honest with you. We did have a meeting in New York. We had a meeting, the coaching had a meeting and Bobby had a meeting, said Valentine. When I spoke I said we all need to be better. That includes the owners, the coaches, Bobby and especially the players. I had one problem with Bobby earlier in the year, and I went into his office and talked to him like a man.
He talked to me like a man and weve been great. We have a great relationship. Thats only I can really say about it. Ill go out and play for him any day of the week. Ill play for my teammates. Its unfortunate that all this stuff comes out.
Pedroia then alluded to the September collapse and the high expectations with a 180 million payroll that the Sox have consistently fallen short of over the last two seasons, and the inevitable fallout when a team underperforms this badly.
I know we lost last year and we had big, huge signings and all kinds of stuff. Were trying to do things the right way and were just trying to play winning baseball, said Pedroia. Its tough when all this stuff comes out that everyone is trying to get the manager fired. Its not the case, man. Ive never met the guy that wrote the story.
Were gonna go out and play as hard as we can. Thats all we can do. Weve dug ourselves a hole and now we need to dig out of it. We need to be professional about it and go out and grind out at-bats, play good defense and pitch well.
The only way this season doesnt go down as a matching set with last years abject, embarrassing failure is for the players to suddenly start winning at an unreasonably high pace.
If that doesnt happen Pedroia and Gonzalez fair or not are going to have a hard time living down a report they basically called a mutiny on their manager despite all of the denials and objections in the world.