Yaz makes rare Fenway return to throw out first pitch

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Yaz makes rare Fenway return to throw out first pitch

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- For 23 years, he was a Fenway fixture on Opening Day.

And then, when he retired in 1984, Carl Yastrzemski disappeared.

"When I retired, I kinda said, 'That was it,' " said the 71-year-old Hall of Famer. "I stayed away . . . It was difficult for a couple of years, but after that it got easier.

He made a rare appearance at the renovated old ballyard Friday, throwing out the first pitch prior to the Red Sox' Opening Day game against the Yankees. And he thinks he knows why he got the call to open the season.

"I'm undefeated," joked Yastrzemski, who threw out the first pitch before Sox victories in both the 2004 and 2007 World Series. "Terry Francona already told me he wants me to come back tomorrow if they win."

There's no chance of that; Yaz flew up from Florida Friday morning and will fly back down Friday night. But he doesn't believe they need him as a good-luck charm.

"A slump is a team thing," he said. "It's the way it happens in baseball, and always has. For five, six games, no one hits. And then, boom.

"The reason for it? Who knows?"

But you'll forgive the Fenway Faithful -- who watched their team score more runs in the first two innings than it had in the last four games combined -- if they credit their long-beloved, but seldom-seen, star.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

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. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

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.