Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine

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Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine

One year into the job, Bobby Valentine was fired by the Boston Red Sox Thursday after leading the club to its worst record since 1965.

The team announced the firing early Thursday afternoon in a press release.

"Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons," said general manager Ben Cherington in the release. "No single issue is the reason and no single individual is to blame. We've been making personnel changes since August and we will continue to do so as we build a contending club.

"With an historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances and I am thankful to him."

The release said that Cherington would lead the search for Valentine's replacement. Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, who has a year remaining on a three-year deal with the Jays, is the clear favorite to replace Valentine though the Sox will likely have to work out compensation with Toronto to hire Farrell.

Farrell served as pitching coach with the Red Sox from 2007 through 2010.

A year ago, Cherington compiled a list of a half-dozen candidates and seemed to be favor Dale Sveum's hiring, only to have his selection rejected by ownership. Days later, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino suggested Valentine be considered.

Valentine was hired on December 2. He had previously managed the Texas Rangers and New York Mets, along with two stints in Japan, where he won a championship with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

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"This year's won-loss record reflects a season of agony," said Lucchino in the team's statement. "It begs for changes, some of which have already transpired. More will come. We are determined to fix that which is broken and return the Red Sox to the level of success we have experienced over the last decade.

"Difficult as it is to judge a manager amid a season that had an epidemic of injuries, we feel we need to make changes. Bobby leaves the Red Sox' manager's office with our respect gratitude and affection."

Added chairman Tom Werner: "This season was by far the worst we have experienced in over 10 years here. Ultimately, we are all collectively responsible for the team's performance. We are going to be working tirelessly to reconstruct the ballclub for 2013. We'll be back."

"In our meeting with Bobby today," said principal owner John Henry, "he handled everything with dignity and class and it is deeply appreciated. Ultimately, we as owners are responsible for arming our organization with the resources -- intellectual, physical and financial -- to return to the levels of competitiveness to which we aspire and to which our fans are accustomed.

"Our commitment to winning is unwavering. It is a commitment to this team, to this city and to these fans who have supported us through thick and thin."

Henry added that the organization has "confidence in Ben Cherington and the kind of baseball organization he is determined to build."

Valentine said that he understood the decision.

"This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me,'' he said, "but I am as disappointed in the results as ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation. It was a privilege to be part of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park and an honor to be in uniform with such great players and coaches. My best to the organization. I'm sure next year will be a turnaround year."

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Trenni Kusnierek and Lou Merloni comment on Tyler Thornburg's, Steven Wright's and Drew Pomeranz's work at Red Sox training camp on Monday.