Valentine, Red Sox to assemble coaching staff

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Valentine, Red Sox to assemble coaching staff

Now that Bobby Valentine has agreed to become the Red Sox' next manager, there's plenty of work for him to do -- in short order.

The winter meetings begin Monday in Dallas and the free agent shopping season is underway. But even before Valentine and the front office gets to work on reshaping the roster and filling some obvious needs (starting pitching, closer, righthanded outfielder), they must first assemble a coaching staff.

That may not be as complicated as it seems, however.

Four coaches from Terry Francona's staff remain under contract with the Red Sox for 2012 and it's a safe bet that the club would like at least some of them to return since, either way, the Sox are responsible for their salaries.

In fact, one industry source suggested it was quite possible that all four of the coaches could be part of Valentine's staff, though some may have re-assigned roles.

Pitching coach Curt Young returned to the Oakland A's after one season with the Sox, and Ron Johnson, who's deal was up, was let go. Earlier this week, he was named manager of the Baltimore Orioles' Triple A affiliate in Norfolk, Va.

DeMarlo Hale, who had served as Francona's bench coach the last two seasons following the departure of Brad Mills, is weighing an offer to coach third base for the Baltimore Orioles, but would also be welcome back to the Sox.

Hale previously worked with Baltimore manager Buck Showalter when the two were in Texas and has worked before for new O's GM Dan Duquette, who was general manager of the Red Sox when Hale managed the team's Double A affiliate.

That leaves three holdovers: hitting instructor Dave Magadan; third base coach Tim Bogar and bullpen coachcatching instructor Gary Tuck.

Valentine would undoubtedly like to choose his own bench coach, but the Sox could easily have Hale return to third base coaching duties, with Bogar -- who has had some difficulty in the job -- shifting to first base, replacing Johnson.

Valentine could then hire someone with whom he's worked before as his bench coach.

Former Red Sox pitching coach Dave Wallace was one of Valentine's pitching coaches when Valentine managed the Mets from 1997-2002 and his name was mentioned as a possible candidate when Valentine went through his day-long interview last week.

Wallace is currently under contract with the Atlanta Braves as a minor league supervisor and lives in Massachusetts.

Rick Peterson, who has worked as the pitching coach for the Oakland A's, New York Mets (after Valentine's tenure) and Milwaukee Brewers, is available, but like Valentine, is a somewhat controversial figure. One industry source dismissed him as a poor fit for the Red Sox.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.