Valentine: No intention of sitting starters

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Valentine: No intention of sitting starters

BOSTON The Red Sox have six games remaining against the Orioles, the team that helped to knock the Sox out of the playoffs last season. But with the Os a game behind the Yankees in the American League East and tied with the As for the wild card lead, manager Bobby Valentine is not interested in playing spoiler.

I dont get a lot of glee out of other peoples misery, Valentine said. But I want our team to play as well as they can in front of our fans. This is our last homestand and you know theyve given everything theyve got every time theyve gone out on the field. Guys with a lot of pride and well try to do our best.

Valentine said he has no plans to shut down any other starters other than skipping Matsuzaka, who is expected to make one more start this season.

As CSNNE.com reported on Thursday, the Sox called up right-handers Zach Stewart and Pedro Beato and infielder Danny Valencia Friday. Stewart is expected to make a start next week, in place of the struggling Daisuke Matsuzaka. Beato and Valencia will be used as needed, Valentine said.

Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler and hitting coach Rich Sauveur were also brought up to help out the major league staff for the rest of the season.

Really good guys, really great baseball men who both came off a season with a lot of the guys on our team playing for them on and off and winning a championship, Valentine said. Im going to use them as much as I can to help define what Im looking at as often as possible. Theyre really good guys. I really enjoyed being with them in the spring and Im sure Ill enjoy having them here.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is not in the starting lineup. He was not in the starting lineup Thursday in Tampa Bay, but went in to replace Pedro Ciriaco who was making his first start there with the team wanting to give him a test in center field. On Friday though, Ellsbury was out with an undisclosed ailment.

He has a little situation that were making sure that its nothing more than a little situation, Valentine said. He really shouldnt have played yesterday.

Im not even sure how to define it so Im not going to try to.

Scott Podsednik is in center field batting second, with Ciriaco playing third and leading off.

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.