Valentine: Talk of Japan ambassadorship is 'just speculation'

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Valentine: Talk of Japan ambassadorship is 'just speculation'

It’s been four days since rumors arose that Bobby Valentine could be named U.S. ambassador to Japan, but President-elect Donald Trump has not yet made an official announcement.

And Valentine's playing it close to the vest.

"All this talk about Japan is just speculation as far as I’m concerned," the ex-Rangers, Mets and Red Sox manager -- and current executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn. -- told CSNNE.com "but it’s an honor to even be in the conversation.

"That being said, I’m extremely happy at Sacred Heart University. It’s growing rapidly and is a very dynamic, exciting place to be."

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Valentine has been at Sacred Heart since 2013. The school plans to build the Bobby Valentine Athletic and Recreation Center in his honor.

Valentine spent 1995, and then 2004-09 in Japan, managing the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. His friend and fellow University of Southern California alum, Shinzo Abe, is the Japanese Prime Minister.

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.  

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the team, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported.

Bradley, who turns 27 April 19, had his best season in 2016, hitting .267 with 26 homers and a league-best 29-game hitting streak. He also won his first Gold Glove. A Scott Boras client, Bradley isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020. 
 
Friday at 1 p.m. was the deadline to reach deals to avoid arbitration. 

Other arbitration-eligible Red Sox are infielders Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad, right-handers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross and Tyler Thornburg and catcher Sandy Leon.