By Sean McAdam
NEW YORK -- For about 15 minutes Friday afternoon, behind closed doors, Red Sox starter John Lackey, head trainer Mike Reinold, manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein met.
The meeting came two days after another poor start from Lackey (nine runs in 6 23 innings in Toronto), his fourth bad outing of the season.
The Sox, of course, are well aware that Lackey is going through a difficult time with an off-field family medical issue, but wanted to determine if there were any physical issues that were a factor in his struggles.
Lackey assured the staff that he felt fine physically.
"We've talked to Lack,'' said Francona. "Some of the things have to be a little bit personal. But as far as pitching-wise, no, I don't think there's anything to address. There are some things like predictability and things, but whether guys throw good, bad or in-between, I think we always try to address things as we go.''
"His stuff has been inconsistent,'' said Epstein. "He hasn't necessarily held the velocity through the middle and late innings as much as he has in the past. I think he threw the ball better in spring training, but it's still early. All that means is that he has things to work on.''
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Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.