Valentine: I've been dedicated to my job 'every day, all day'

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Valentine: I've been dedicated to my job 'every day, all day'

SEATTLE -- A defiant Bobby Valentine, hours after a contentious interivew on WEEI Wednesday, took issue with any suggestion that he "checked out'' on the season and insisted he had a good reason for arriving at the Oakland Coliseum less than three hours before gametime last Friday.
"If anyone in this room or any other room I've ever been in in my life wants to question my integrity,'' said Valentine, "I will ask someone to referee that situation.''
Valentine told WEEI host Glenn Ordway that he would like to "punch him in the mouth'' for asking whether the manager had "checked out,'' but maintained that he was doing so jokingly.
"(It's) entertainment,'' said Valentine. "Didn't I go 'ha-ha?' I don't think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people. I think it made the point, that there are lines that should be drawn in the sand when someone's trying to be professional and sounding unprofessional. Sometimes, it's better to be abrupt and then let everyone know (you're) kidding.''
Ordway had cited multiple reports that Valentine had arrived at the Coliseum after 4 p.m. Valentine was late because he had gone to pick up his son at San Francisco International Airport and the flight was delayed. Valentine then made a stop back at the team's hotel in San Francisco before traveling across the Bay Bridge to the Coliseum in Oakland.
Traffic and an accident on the highway leading to the Coliseum further delayed his arrival.
"When you talk about someone's family,'' said Valentine, "and you talk about someone's integrity, you draw the line of what should be done in the workplace. That's where I draw the line. And if on that radio show, I falsely accused anyone of being either unprofessional or disregarding the truth or the facts of the matter, my total apologies are out there. I did not mean to offend anyone.''
Valentine emphasized that he had already forwarded his lineup for Friday's game to the coaching staff -- as is his custom -- and had checked in by phone with the training staff to determine player availabilty.
"(I) got the stadium a little later than normal,'' said Valentine. "To see my son for a couple hours more, I think is more than worth the tradeoff of sitting around in my underwear in the clubhouse for two hours.''
He then recounted his schedule since being hired last December, noting that he'd had "two off-days that I've taken for myself,'' and adding he was dedicated to his job "every day, all day.''
Valentine also took issue with reports that highlighted his rambling at times non-sensical answer when asked about hitting Scott Podsednik third the day after Valentine's arrival was delayed.
"If I say I must have made a mistake by batting Podsednik third,'' said Valentine, "why wouldn't you say: 'What do you mean by that?' C'mon. I don't make mistakes putting out the lineup. The guy's hitting .345 and I'm going hit him at the top of the lineup. And there's two other guys who are going to hit at the top of the lineup; he's one of them. Just ask me the question.''
During the original radio interview, Valentine noted that he was often "miserable'' during his first season managing the Red Sox. Later, meeting with reporters, he softened his language only somewhat.
"It's been very trying,'' he said of the experience. "There's been a lot of obstacles in my way. I think I've jumped them and sometimes I've been knocked down by them. Just doing as good as I can do... all day long.''

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.