Valentine takes jabs at Yankees' Jeter, Rodriguez


Valentine takes jabs at Yankees' Jeter, Rodriguez

If you've been keeping tabs on how manager Bobby Valentine is treating the first few days of spring training, you've noticed a few new things.

For starters, Sox players have been hitting grounders to teammates during infield practice.

They've also practiced bunting. (The Sox? Bunting?)

And yes, even relays and cutoff throws were in the works on Tuesday.

But that relay throw work led to talk that prompted Valentine to take a little shot at the Yankees -- something he has wasted no time doing since putting on the Sox uniform.

"We'll never practice that,'' said Valentine, referring to the famous relay toss that Derek Jeter made to throw out Jeremy Giambi at the plate during Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. "I think Jeter was out of position and the ball gets Giambi out if Jeter doesn't touch it, personally.''

The play can be relived in full detail here, but to sum it up, Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer overthrows two cutoff men. The ball bounces down foul territory along the first-base line, when out of nowhere Jeter picks it up and flips it to Jorge Posada for the out.

"That was amazing that Jeter was there," Valentine said. "I bet it's more amazing that he said he practiced it. I don't believe it.''

So there's two shots at Jeter if you're counting at home. One saying he was out of position and that the throw was unnecessary, and the other saying he doesn't believe it was practiced.

But there would be one more shot to come.

Valentine was later asked his thoughts on Jason Varitek, who will officially retire Thursday. Varitek had a lot of big moments in the Sox uniform, but perhaps none bigger than his glove and hand to the face of Alex Rodriguez during the summer of 2004, a moment that Valentine, too, remembers.

"From afar, he was everything you want a guy who wears a 'C' to be,'' Valentine said of Varitek, a captain since 2005. "He was a man's man, he was a big hitter when needed, he was the leader of the pitching staff. He was able to beat up Alex, all that stuff. He was exactly what he was supposed to be.''

If taking jabs at the Yankees is part of the job description, consider Valentine all set there. Perhaps like Varitek, Valentine is trying his hardest to be exactly what he is supposed to be.

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