Valentine meets with Red Sox brass

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Valentine meets with Red Sox brass

BOSTON The Red Sox interviewed their sixth managerial candidate Monday. The question, though, is: Will he be the final candidate?

Bobby Valentine met with general manager Ben Cherington in what was called a formal interview setting. Valentine initially discussed the open manager's job with presidentCEO Larry Lucchino and Cherington earlier this month. Lucchino and Valentine were on the panel in Hartford at a forum on international baseball Nov. 3.

Larry left Ben and I together for a good part of that time, Valentine said. We did the discussion and basically Larry said, Hey, Ben thinks we could move forward with you. We might continue the process. Thats when I started thinking of it.

Valentine is the most recognizable candidate and the candidate with the most experience.He managed for eight seasons with the Rangers and seven with the Mets, compiling a record of 1117-1072. He also managed in Japan, and won the 2005 Japan Series with the Chiba Lotte Marines. He is currently an analyst for ESPN.

But Valentine is not without a share of controversy, including run-ins with former GMs and players, and a collapse with the 2002 Mets. He was fired at the end of that season.

Hes had really good experiences, Cherington said. Hes been to the top, and hes had other experiences that havent gone as well. But no one whos managed in the big leagues -- or very few, I cant think of anyone -- has had all good experiences. Thats not how the game works. Former manager Terry Francona hadnt had all good experiences before he got to Boston. He worked out really well.

Asked what hes learned since his last major-league managerial stint, Valentine replied:

I wish I had a good answer for that. One thing, you can't teach experience. If all your experiences could be good, wed live in thisfairylandthatFenway Parkis built around. You can't. Ive had bad experiences that I hope Ive learned from. Ive had good experiences that I hope I learned from. Some of those bad experiences I think I caused. Some of them were caused by the surroundings. Some of the good experiences, I had something to do with them and some of them I was just happy to go along for the ride. I hope like hell Ive learned from whatever experiences I had.

I hope I'll change for the better because I never won a world championship when I was inNew York.

Valentine said he could not consider managing without a balance of scouting and computer analysis.

We know we need to have people who see people and we also need to have people who can understand what those people actually do, he said. I was an advanced scout. I worked with scouts, with minor-league organizations . . . I was weaned on the concept of statistical analysis as a manager. I think they're both very important.

During the interview process he was asked to watch game video, offer analysis and determine what his in-game decisions might be.Valentine, 61, is a native of Stamford, Conn., where he still resides and is the citys director of public safety. He is currently in the process of hiring a fire chief for the city. Valentine joked that he would like to use a similar format in his interviews for the city.

Valentine, like most observers, is aware of the reports of unseemly behavior by Red Sox players in the clubhouse during the season.

Discipline is not 30 whacks with a whip these days, but I think everyone likes discipline, he said. I think everyone likes structure and everyone again likes to be acknowledged when they do things properly. When they dont do things properly . . . most people, and athletes in particular, like to be noticed that theyre not doing things right. So when you talk about discipline and rules and all that, its just about right and wrong.Its just about an expectation of a person whos representing a great organization like the Boston Red Sox, a passionate committed team like they have in the front office and in ownership, expecting them to know the difference between right and wrong, on the field and off the field and when they're talking to you and when they're living their life. Thats the discipline thing I try to bring to a team.

Valentine said he talked with a couple of his mentors, including Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda and Lou Lamoriello, presidentGM of the New Jersey Devils who is also in the hockey Hall of Fame and Cape Cod League hall of fame. Lamoriello coached Valentine in the Cape League.

Theyd disown me if I didn't give it my best shot, Valentine said of his interview with the Sox. I sweat the whole day. I havent been as nervous for anything in a long, long time. It was invigorating, challenging and stimulating -- all those good things.

Cherington said while he had hoped to have a decision by Thanksgiving, that isn't likely. Cherington said he is now hoping to make a decision next week, before the winter meetings, which begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.

That hasnt happened, he said. But more important we need to get it right and take the time necessary. You never want to rush it.

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t scream “fake news" on Tuesday,  but he might as well have.

The only problem is he seems to be forgetting his own words, and his reliever’s.

Righty Tyler Thornburg is starting his Red Sox career on the disabled list because of a shoulder impingement. 

Another Dave Dombrowski pitching acquisition, another trip to the disabled list. Ho hum.

But the reason Thornburg is hurt, Farrell said, has nothing to do with the Red Sox’ shoulder program -- the same program Farrell referenced when talking about Thornburg earlier this month.

“There’s been a lot written targeting our shoulder program here,” Farrell told reporters on Tuesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms are now the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

Let’s go back to March 10, when Farrell was asked in his usual pregame session with reporters about Thornburg’s status.

"He is throwing long-toss out to 120 feet today," Farrell said that day. “He’s also been going through a strength and conditioning phase, arm-wise. What we encounter with guys coming from other organizations, and whether it's Rick [Porcello], David [Price], guys that come in, and they go through our shoulder maintenance program, there's a period of adaptation they go through, and Tyler’s going through that right now. We're also going to get him on the mound and get some fundamental work with his delivery and just timing, and that's soon to come in the coming days. Right now it's long toss out to 120 feet.”

So Farrell volunteered, after Thornburg was taken out of game action, that the shoulder program appeared involved. 

Maybe that turned out not to be the case. But Farrell's the one who put this idea out there.

On March 11, Farrell was asked to elaborate about other pitchers who needed adjusting to how the Red Sox do their shoulder program.

“Rick Porcello is an example of that. Joe Kelly,” Farrell said. “And that's not to say that our program is the end-all, be-all, or the model for which everyone should be compared. That's just to say that what we do here might be a little more in-depth based on a conversation with the pitchers, that what they've experienced and what we ask them to do here. And large in part, it's with manual resistance movements on the training table. These are things that are not maybe administered elsewhere, so the body goes through some adaptation to get to that point. 

“So, in other words, a pitcher that might come in here previously, he pitched, he’s got recovery time and he goes and pitches again. There's a lot of work and exercise in between the outings that they may feel a little fatigued early on. But once they get those patterns, and that consistent work, the body adapts to it and their recovery times become much shorter. And it's one of the reasons we've had so much success keeping pitchers healthy and on the field.”

Except that Kelly has had a shoulder impingement in his time with the Red Sox, last April, and so too now does Thornburg.

In quotes that appeared in a March 12 story, Thornburg himself told the Herald’s Michael Silverman that he didn’t understand the Red Sox throwing program.

Thornburg said that after the December trade, he was sent a list of exercises from the training staff. The message he did not receive was that all of the exercises were to be performed daily.

“I kind of figured that this is a list of the exercises they incorporated, I didn’t think this is what they do all in one day,” said Thornburg. “I thought, ‘here’s a list of exercises, learn them, pick five or six of them,’ because that was pretty much what we did in Milwaukee.”

But according to Farrell, Thornburg’s current state has nothing to do with the program -- the same one Farrell himself cited when directly asked about Thornburg before.

Maybe the program was the wrong thing to point to originally. But Farrell did point to it.

"This is all still in line with the shoulder fatigue, the shoudler impingement and the subsequent inflammation that he's dealing with. That’s the best I can tell you at this point," Farrell said Tuesday. "Anytime a player, and we've had a number of players come in, when you come into a new organization, there's a period where guys adapt. Could it have been different from what he's done in the past? Sure. But to say it's the root cause, that’s a little false. That’s a lot false, and very short-sighted."

Hey, he started it.

Thornburg is not to throw for a week before a re-evaluation.

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

One White House tradition will have to wait, if it’s in fact maintained.

President Donald Trump is not going to throw out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals this season, according to the Washington Post.

Post reporter Barry Svrugula wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the White House declined an invitation from the Nats.

POLITICO reported early Tuesday morning that Trump was in talks to throw out the first pitch and that it was also possible he could spend an inning in the MASN booth.

President William Howard Taft began the custom of U.S. presidents throwing out a first pitch on April 14, 1910, at National Stadium in D.C.

According to The Week:

“Since Taft, every president not named Jimmy Carter has thrown out at least one Opening Day first pitch. The executive guests of honor followed in Taft's hefty footsteps, throwing the first ball from the stands, until the late 1980s when Ronald Reagan sauntered onto the mound and improved upon the tradition."

The most famous presidential pitch in recent memory is George W. Bush’s toss during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

The Nats open their season on Monday at home in Washington D.C., in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins. A Nationals Magic 8 Ball is to be given away to the first 20,000 fans.

The Red Sox happen to play the Nats in a pair of exhibitions right before the season, on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is at the Nats’ home park in D.C. Saturday’s game is to be played in Annapolis, Md., at the U.S. Naval Academy.