NEW YORK -- It's a straightforward question: Why play the last two meaningless games of a lost season -- in the rain, no less -- with a broken finger?
For Dustin Pedroia, it's a complex answer.
"I want to play, I want to be out there for the guys," Pedroia said Tuesday in the Red Sox clubhouse at Yankee Stadium after it was announced he would be back in the lineup. "Yesterday was tough; we got our butts kicked (a 10-2 loss)."
"We're playing to win. Nobody's packing it in. We've got two more games."
But there's more to it than that. Part of it is part of being a team leader:
"We have a lot of young guys on our team. Sometimes you get nicked up; it's part of the job. Younger teammates know I'm going to be out there and they should be out there, too, if it happens to them."
And part of it is personal:
"I like playing, man, it's fun. I get to compete for two more games then sit around for six more months before I can do it again."
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
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.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
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, sources told 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.