Valentine on McClure dismissal: Time for a new voice

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Valentine on McClure dismissal: Time for a new voice

Bobby Valentine, tacitly acknowledging that he and former pitching coach Bob McClure had some issues along the way, said the reason behind McClure's dismissal Monday was to provide"a little different voice in the clubhouse'' and a "stabilizing force.''

"Obviously, coming into a situation, there were adjustments that he and I were making as year went along,'' said Valentine. "I thought we were making them. (But) at this time, with six weeks to go, we thought that maybe a little different voice in the clubhouse would make a little difference.''

Recounting the hiring process last winter, Valentine seemed to refute the notion that McClure was hired without the manager's input.

"He came in and he interviewed,'' said Valentine. "I liked the interview. I continued to interview people. Then, we were running out of time and he was the best candidate out there, I felt and Ben felt. If that means he was my choice, he was my choice.

"I didn't have someone I was going to take over him.''

Speaking about some communications issues within the organization, though not specifically about McClure, Valentine admitted that communication has been a problem "at times . . . It's not one person that delivers messages and I think there have been some breakdowns -- maybe from Ben (Cherington) to the training room, that goes through my office, to the coach's office, to the clubhouse, to the training room, or however we want that to be set up.

"There's probably been a few glitches and coming in, I expected them. Someone would be a fool not to. There's always problems getting the word out properly.''

Randy Niemann, who replaces McClure, becomes the fourth Red Sox pitching coach since the end of the 2010 season, and the Sox run the risk of again, having their pitchers hear a different voice when it comes to approach and philosophy.

"Since Randy's been here (all year),'' said Valentine, "I'm not sure that idea really applies. And he did it for a few weeks ago without a wrinkle (when McClure went home to attend to a medical situation with one of his children). I think of (Niemann) as one of this year's pitching
coaches right from the beginning. And (bullpen coach) Gary Tuck is a kind of a constant, too, and I think he'll take a little role in this six-week project, too.''

Niemann, Valentine said, has "a common sense approach to things. He's worked with all the guys on rehab this year. He's been totally in charge of that, so I think they understand that he understands their throwing motions. He was in the bullpen for a couple of weeks when Gary
wasn't here, so the relievers got to know him in game situations.

"He was in the dugout for a couple of weeks when Bob wasn't here. What he brings is what is needed -- a nice stabilizing force.''

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.