Valentine lauded reliever Andrew Miller, who has had a break-out year in the Boston bullpen.
Miller is 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA while limiting opposing hitters to a .191 batting average. He's also stranded 37-of-42 inherited runners, good for an 88.1 success rate, third-best among American League relievers.
"I think Andrew's developed into a terrific pitcher," said Valentine. "I think he started in a very questionable place and now has a very secure foot-hold on being able to compete at the major league level. I think he can be a dominating force in the bullpen."
Lefties are hitting just .134 (11-for-82) off Miller this season and he's registered 47 strikeouts in 38 13 innings and has held opponents scoreless in 40 of his 49 appearances.
"He can be very proud of his development," said Valentine. "And he's still developing. He's working on a two-seam changeup to righthanders that I will think will put him a little over the edge next year, into another
Miller has had some difficulty with righties, who have hit him at a .278 clip. Hence, the work on the changeup to give him another weapon when facing righties.
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.
The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.
But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.
“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.
“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.
He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.
But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.
“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”