Valentine pencils Nava into the leadoff spot

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Valentine pencils Nava into the leadoff spot

BOSTON -- For the first time this season, Daniel Nava found himself in the leadoff spot in the Red Sox batting order, replacing shortstop Mike Aviles, who was moved to ninth in the lineup.

Manager Bobby Valentine continues to experiment with different lineups, with both of his natural choices for leadoff -- outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford -- sidelined with long-term injuries.

"I'd love to have traditional on-base guys in front of the guys who hit home runs and everything,'' said Valentine. "But when you're making due with what you have, I don't mind having a guy who can do some damage (like Aviles) up there. Mike is there,
does a great job and being that he's playing every day, he just needs a little breather.''

For now, Nava is the choice. He has slumped of late, going hitless in nine at-bats against Tampa Bay over the weekend, but he still sports a .448 on-base percentage.

"Nava's played so well and his at-bats are calm and deep,'' explained Valentine. "He might have the best on-base percentage on our team, for this short period, for whatever that's worth. So, hopefully, he'll get on in front of the big spots.

"I was reluctant to do it earlier, only because he was getting his feet wet at the major league level. I didn't want to get him over his head. But he seems like he's settled in nicely.''

Nava is the fifth player to hit leadoff for the Sox this season, following Aviles, Ellsbury, Nick Punto and Ryan Sweeney.

"He knows himself as a hitter,'' said Valentine of Nava. "I like people who know what they can do. He's taken a shot at hitting the ball deep when he's in the right count. He takes the pitch that he doesn't handle well early in the count. He takes a full swing almost every time he swings.''

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

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. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

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.