Valentine faces balancing act with Sox roster

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Valentine faces balancing act with Sox roster

BOSTON -- For the time being, Bobby Valentine's job as manager is one big balancing act.
He's currently playing with 24 men as the Red Sox try to determine if Dustin Pedroia needs to go on the disabled list. Until then, his middle infield options are scant.
Then there's the logjam at the corner infield spots. If Valentine wants both Will Middlebrooks and Kevin Youkilis in the lineup together, it means he has to play Adrian Gonzalez in right field.
That, too, has it's drawbacks because while Gonzalez has played far better than many expected, his slowness afoot can be costly.
In the seventh inning, Gonzalez had to run a long way on a blooper hit by Miguel Cabrera. Gonzalez laid out and cradled the ball for an instant, but then dropped it for a game-tying double.
Gonzalez made up for it the next inning when he hooked a ground rule double to right, putting the Sox ahead to stay in their 6-4 win over the Tigers.
Every night Gonzalez is on right, Valentine must determine when to lift him for a defensive upgrade. Wednesday night, he didn't replace Gonzalez in the top of the seventh with the Sox leading 4-3, reasoning that Gonzalez could hit the next inning.
It's a loaded question every time.
"Leave him in... let Youk stay in... have Youk go to third... I don't know," said Valentine. "I'm with (bench coach Tim Bogar), we're talking through it from the third inning on. We're seeing the matchup, we're seeing the bullpen, the swings, what could happen, what might develop. We have guys prepared for making a move that we want.
"We looked at each other (after the) sixth and said, 'Do we do it now?' I figured no, too early, he's going to get up again. He got up again (in the seventh), hit it over the fence on a hop and I said, 'That's enough.'"
For his part, Gonzalez doesn't involve himself in the strategy discussions. He just does what he's told.
"We joke around and say, 'who's the one who's going to play the Little League game (six innings) today?' " joked Gonzalez. "It's just good that we can have a better offensive team out there and when it's time, we make the switch."
Wednesday night, the four hitters -- counting DH David Ortiz -- accounted for all six Red Sox runs, with Ortiz and Middlebrooks driving in two each and Youkilis and Gonzalez adding one apiece.
For that kind of production, Valentine will continue to juggle whatever he must.

Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

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Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

If you're upset with the way the Red Sox have played recently, well, David Price understands.

But things, he vows, will get better. And he adds that it's only when you've been in the deepest valley that you can appreciate the highest mountain.

Or something like that . . .

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

After Eduardo Rodriguez's horrific performance Monday night against the Rays -- 11 hits and 9 earned runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings, leading to a 13-7 Red Sox loss to a team that entered the game riding an 11-game losing streak -- the Sox succumbed to the obvious and shipped him back to Pawtucket.  

And they got no argument from Sean McAdam.

"I think this is the right move," CSN's Red Sox Insider told Dalen Cuff on Monday night's SportsNet Central. "Because, clearly, the step forward that [Rodriguez] took, however small, last week was more than wiped out and (he) regressed this evening the way he pitched. And things have to be worked out, both in terms of execution and his approach . . . "

In six starts this season covering 29 1/3 innings -- less than five innings a start -- Rodriguez has been, in a word, awful. His 1-3 record is bad enough, but couple that with an 8.59 ERA, an opponents' batting average of .315, a WHIP of 1.74 and nine home runs allowed (a rate that projects out to about 45 homers allowed in a 150-inning season), and you can see why a change had to be made.

“The bottom line is, [Rodriguez] is capable of more," said manager John Farrell.

But now comes the next question: Who replaces him? And that, noted McAdam, has no easy answer.

"What it means for the rotation going forward is completely uncertain," McAdam told Cuff. "In fact, (Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski) told us that there was no corresponding move. Of course, because this turn doesn't come up in the rotation for another five days with the off-day Thursday, it's not anything they need to address (immediately). And in all likelihood, they'll probably get somebody to pitch out of the bullpen here until that turn comes up."

So the Sox get five days to ponder a problem that seems, in many ways unsolvable.

"[There] aren't a lot of good candidates internally," McAdam noted, "and it's unlikely there's going to be any sort of trade . . . in the next four days to fill that spot