Valentine faces balancing act with Sox roster

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Valentine faces balancing act with Sox roster

BOSTON -- For the time being, Bobby Valentine's job as manager is one big balancing act.
He's currently playing with 24 men as the Red Sox try to determine if Dustin Pedroia needs to go on the disabled list. Until then, his middle infield options are scant.
Then there's the logjam at the corner infield spots. If Valentine wants both Will Middlebrooks and Kevin Youkilis in the lineup together, it means he has to play Adrian Gonzalez in right field.
That, too, has it's drawbacks because while Gonzalez has played far better than many expected, his slowness afoot can be costly.
In the seventh inning, Gonzalez had to run a long way on a blooper hit by Miguel Cabrera. Gonzalez laid out and cradled the ball for an instant, but then dropped it for a game-tying double.
Gonzalez made up for it the next inning when he hooked a ground rule double to right, putting the Sox ahead to stay in their 6-4 win over the Tigers.
Every night Gonzalez is on right, Valentine must determine when to lift him for a defensive upgrade. Wednesday night, he didn't replace Gonzalez in the top of the seventh with the Sox leading 4-3, reasoning that Gonzalez could hit the next inning.
It's a loaded question every time.
"Leave him in... let Youk stay in... have Youk go to third... I don't know," said Valentine. "I'm with (bench coach Tim Bogar), we're talking through it from the third inning on. We're seeing the matchup, we're seeing the bullpen, the swings, what could happen, what might develop. We have guys prepared for making a move that we want.
"We looked at each other (after the) sixth and said, 'Do we do it now?' I figured no, too early, he's going to get up again. He got up again (in the seventh), hit it over the fence on a hop and I said, 'That's enough.'"
For his part, Gonzalez doesn't involve himself in the strategy discussions. He just does what he's told.
"We joke around and say, 'who's the one who's going to play the Little League game (six innings) today?' " joked Gonzalez. "It's just good that we can have a better offensive team out there and when it's time, we make the switch."
Wednesday night, the four hitters -- counting DH David Ortiz -- accounted for all six Red Sox runs, with Ortiz and Middlebrooks driving in two each and Youkilis and Gonzalez adding one apiece.
For that kind of production, Valentine will continue to juggle whatever he must.

David Ortiz re-enacts Boston movie scenes as part of charity video

David Ortiz re-enacts Boston movie scenes as part of charity video

As part of a charity promotion with Omaze, David Ortiz has made a video re-enacting scenes from Boston-set movies. 

The movies range from a classic -- "Good Will Hunting" -- to very good crime movies -- "The Departed, The Town" — to the just plain bad "Fever Pitch," but all of the scenes are entertaining. Ortiz plays every part in each scene, often playing to characters interacting with one another. 

At the end of the video, a link is given to Omaze.com/papi, which gives fans the opportunity to enter a drawing to attend his jersey retirement ceremony by donating. Proceeds go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund and the Red Sox Foundation. 

The David Ortiz Children Fund aims to help children in New England and the Dominican Republic who are born with congenital heart failure. 
 

Drellich: When will Red Sox players hold themselves accountable?

Drellich: When will Red Sox players hold themselves accountable?

BOSTON -- Whether John Farrell is managing the Red Sox next week or next month, keep an eye on player accountability.

Five years ago, Bobby Valentine was supposed to be the disciplinarian that stopped babying the clubhouse. Disaster followed, largely because Valentine was a terrible fit for this group, his approach extreme and dated.

But this year’s team makes you wonder whether a distilled sense of Red Sox entitlement lingers.

At Fenway Park, is the message from the veteran voices one that includes a sense of public accountability for not just the manager, but the players as well?

In FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s piece on Farrell, Rosenthal noted “some players, but not all, believe that [Farrell] does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media.”

Those unnamed players Rosenthal cites need a mirror, badly. Or at least a glance around the room.

Where’s the guy in the clubhouse standing up to the media with any consistency? There’s no voice that regularly shields the younger, less experienced guys from tough but expected questions after losses.

Dustin Pedroia gets dressed and leaves the clubhouse faster than Chris Sale will get the ball back and throw it Wednesday. 

Pedroia mentioned something about whale poop in Oakland over the weekend. He can be very funny, but he’s not exactly keen to deliver calming, state-of-the-union addresses — not with frequency, anyway.

Farrell, of course, has been criticized for doing the opposite of what the FOX Sports story noted. The manager was mobbed on social media last year for saying David Price had good stuff on a day Price himself said the opposite.

The premise here is amusing, if you think about it.

Follow: Players are upset that the manager does not do a better job lying about their performance. And this, in turn, affects how players play?

Get a grip.

The public isn’t dumb. If you’re bad, you’re bad, and you’re going to hear about it in Boston. No manager changes that.

Whichever Sox player seeks more protection from Farrell really needs a reminder from a teammate to play better.

Too often, some of the most famous, prominent athletes can be sensitive, and over-sensitive. Look at how LeBron James handled a question about what led to his poor performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

It is true that some players question Farrell’s leadership, as Rosenthal reported. But it can also be difficult to separate questions of leadership from whining and grumbling that a manager isn’t providing said player more chances, more opportunities, even if undeserved.

How can Drew Pomeranz's unfounded dugout complaints be Farrell's fault?

The situation and player that make Farrell look the worst this year is Hanley Ramirez. The idea of him playing first base is gone, his shoulders apparently too screwed up to make that viable. 

Somehow, Ramirez made 133 starts at first base last year. One has to wonder how all of a sudden Ramirez can barely play a single game. 

If he’s hurt, he’s hurt. But the Sox didn’t come out of the gate in spring training and say, first base is out of the picture because of his health. They kept saying there was hope he'd be able to play in the field.

If Ramirez is being obstinate, he’s in turn making Farrell look weak. And, more importantly, hurting his team.

What would Ramirez be doing if David Ortiz hadn't retired? Spending the year on the disabled list?

Farrell can pack up his bags today, tomorrow or after the next full moon. The players would still need to take it upon themselves to do what’s best for their team: to focus on what matters.

If they’ve forgotten, that’s about performing up to their abilities and being accountable for themselves -- publicly and privately -- when they don’t.

A manager’s quote in the media doesn’t change whether you’re playing bad baseball.