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.''

Red Sox understand first-inning woes are putting pressure on offense

Red Sox understand first-inning woes are putting pressure on offense

ST. PETERSBURG, FLa. -- Not long ago, the Red Sox were repeatedly taking first-inning leads, often with multi-run innings.

These days, of course, it's the other way round. The Red Sox haven't scored a first-inning run since June 11, while the opposition is piling up the runs, with 22 scored in the last 15 games prior to Tuesday.

"Two weeks ago,'' said John Farrell, "we were talking about how much pressure it takes off (our) pitcher when you go out and score (in the first). We're living the other side of both of those right now.''

The Red Sox recognize the problem, but fixing isn't easy, namely because the issue is not the same for every starter.

The Sox are satisfied with their approach. What they have to change are the results.

"To go out and command the baseball from the start,'' said Farrell, "that's what we're all working toward getting better at. It's pretty clear where we need to improve.''

"Obviously, it makes it difficult for the offense,'' said pitching coach Carl Willis of the recent habit of falling behind. "to start off in a hole. It kind of sucks some energy out of the dugout when you're playing catch-up right away. (The pitchers) are aware of it. We're looking at everyone's routine. A couple of guys have really good, consistent routines.''

Willis said the Red Sox have examined everything, from pre-game routines and timing for warm-ups. So far, they haven't been able to discover any common factors.

"We've got to come out and throw better in that first inning,'' said David Price, who will start the series finale against his former team Wednesday afternoon. "It's setting the tone early. It's going out there and putting up a quick zero and giving all your defenders and your offense (the message), 'Alright, we've got it today. We don't have to go out and put up a 10-spot.'

"If we can go out there and put up early zeros, it takes a lot of the pressure off that offense.''

For now, it's something the Sox are focused on repairing.

"Baseball's a crazy game,'' said Willis. "Sometimes you go through periods and it just happens. That's not a good answer and that's not an excuse. We have to be better and they know that.''

 

Trip to minors gives E-Rod opportunity to work on delivery consistency

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Trip to minors gives E-Rod opportunity to work on delivery consistency

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis didn't say that Eduardo Rodriguez was tipping his pitches again Monday.

Then again, he didn't have to.

The results -- nine runs on 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays -- offered a hint. And, just for good measure, Willis all but said so Tuesday afternoon.

"It really goes back to consistency in (his) delivery,'' said Willis, "because with the inconsistencies -- I know it's no secret -- hitters know what's coming. He's worked on it extensively in bullpen sessions, dry work periods. He makes progress, shows the abilities to make those adjustments. However, when the game begins and his focus gears more toward attacking the hitter, the old habits resurface.

"It's not from lack of effort on his part. It's just a bit much to accomplish at the major league level, where hitters can look for inconsistencies and make adjustments more so that in the minors.''

Rodriguez knows what has to be done. But as recent history suggests, it's not an easy fix.

"It takes a lot of work. It does,'' said Willis. "Obviously, he's gone back to his old delivery that he's more accustomed to and comfortable with. I think there's a possibility that we're going to have to make an adjustment with his hands -- where he sets them and keeps them throughout his delivery, maybe eliminate some movement. And that's going to be something that would definitely be difficult to take place here.

"It's not easy, but certainly not impossible. He's a good athlete. He's an intelligent kid. He's aware. But it's the ability to maintain to make it a new habit so he doesn't have to think about it.''

How long Rodriguez takes to correct the flaws is unknown, making it difficult to estimate when he might return to the Red Sox rotation.

"I don't have an exact answer for that,'' said John Farrell. "That's going to be a start-by-start situation and (depends on) how he solidifies the adjustments that are requires. I don't have a timetable for how long it's going to be. . . But to suggest that this is going to be a one-start situation (at Pawtucket) would be a little aggressive.''

 

Did John Farrell mismanage Xander Bogaerts' playing time?

Did John Farrell mismanage Xander Bogaerts' playing time?

Michael Felger, Tony Massarotti, and Jim Murray discuss Xander Bogaerts, who admitted he's tired and is receiving the night off for the Boston Red Sox.