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.

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


 

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.