Red Sox notes: Ellsbury scratched; lineup shuffled

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Red Sox notes: Ellsbury scratched; lineup shuffled

BOSTON Jacoby Ellsbury was in the original lineup the Red Sox posted, in his customary lead-off spot, playing center field. But, soon after that manager Bobby Valentine posted a new lineup with Ellsbury scratched and Ryan Kalish taking his place.

Valentine said Ellsbury is sitting out with a leg ailment.

Im just being safe with Jacoby, Valentine said. He has a very little situation that he wanted to play through and with the day game tomorrow I vetoed it. Ryans healthy, ready to go.

Its a leg issue, but its not an issue, but it could become an issue. Now that hes not playing, its an issue.

Kalish has led off three times previously, all in 2010. He is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back with the team after missing Friday with what Valentine had thought was an ear infection. Actually, it was food poisoning.

Saltalamacchia is batting sixth, serving as the designated hitter.

He said he felt really good when he woke up this morning, Valentine said. Came here and lifted some weights and got it out of his system.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is not in the starting lineup. Its just a day off, he said, and not health related.

Its OK, Middlebrooks said. Just a day off. I want to play but its a long season, so take em when I can get em.

I wanted to get him a day off two days ago. He talked me out of it and I said OK well go through the left-hander Brian Duensing, Thursday, Valentine said. We all need days off and hes out working every day early. Hes doing great.

Of Middlebrooks' diving grab on Brian Doziers pop foul near the third base dugout on a bunt attempt for the first out in the 10th inning with a runner on second, Valentine said:

He wanted it, didn't he? He showed the effort that he has burning in the belly every night. Very big play at a big time in the game. Too bad it didn't result in a win.

Valentine has seen Middlebrooks defense improving.

I think that a lot of early work and also more time, his experience has made him a real improved third baseman., Valentine said. In particular his backhand.

Valentine said David Ortiz, on the disabled list since July 17 with a strained right Achilles tendon, is progressing. Ortiz did a pregame workout and hes feeling better, but there is still no schedule for a return to the lineup.

Left-hander Franklin Morales is scheduled to start Sunday against the Twins (in place of Josh Beckett, who left his Tuesday start against the Tigers with a back spasm with two outs in the third inning). This will be Morales sixth start of the season, first since July 13 in Tampa Bay.

It will be his first career start against the Twins. In four relief appearances, spanning 3 23 innings, he has allowed three runs. All the runs he allowed were prior to joining the Sox in May 2010. Since then, he has pitched two scoreless innings over three games against Minnesota.

Hes pitched very well for us the majority of times hes been on the mound, as a starter, reliever, Valentine said. Im expecting for him to be healthy, sound, aggressive, pound the strike zone, use his three pitches and help us win a game.

Depending on Becketts health, Morales will likely return to the bullpen after Sunday.

I dont plan on going with six pitchers all year, Valentine said. So well see.

On left-hander Felix Doubront's outing against the twins Friday, in which he went five innings, giving up five runs on eight this and four walks with two strikeouts, Valentine said:

Felix Doubront is a first-year starter in the American League, in the American League East in Boston, Massachusetts. We want to look at a perfect finished product and a guy whos doing an outstanding job. Im not looking at perfection. I've seen a great deal of excellence. I love the excellence that I see and I think we can build on that.

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

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. 

 

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. 

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.