KANSAS CITY -- The Red Sox are in the middle of a stretch of games against lefthanded pitchers -- three in a row in this three-game series with the Kansas City Royals -- and as such, Bobby Valentine is working to ensure that the Sox lineup stays fresh.
For Tuesday's game, Valentine deployed the exact same lineup he utilized in the 11-5 win in the series opener, featuring Adrian Gonzalez dropped down to fifth, Darnell McDonald in left field and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate.
But Valentine hinted that may change things up Wednesday, when the Sox face lefty Bruce Chen.
With Josh Beckett set to start Thursday and Shoppach expected to catch him, Valentine won't want Jarrod Saltalamacchia sitting for four straight games.
"Kelly was hoping to get one of these days off, to get a lift in," said Valentine.
Also, Valentine said he would "probably" try to get lefthanded-hitting outfielder Ryan Sweeney into Wednesday's game. Sweneey has just 10 at-bats against lefties all season.
"It's not really (about) avoiding (lefties)," said Valentine of Sweneey. "I'm trying to keep him as fresh as possible, especially with his lower body. We have a string here, so he's going to be asked to play a lot of games. But I think Ryan can hit anyone."
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.
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.