Valentine takes jabs at Yankees' Jeter, Rodriguez

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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.

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.

Roger Goodell says he'll be present for Patriots opener at Gillette Stadium

Roger Goodell says he'll be present for Patriots opener at Gillette Stadium

PHOENIX -- Roger Goodell said during a press conference at the league meetings on Tuesday evening that he planned to attend the NFL's "kickoff game" next season, which is scheduled to be hosted by the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in September. 

Goodell has not visited Gillette Stadium since the AFC title game in January of 2015 -- the game during which Deflategate was sparked. Last season he opted to visit Atlanta for the Divisional and Championship rounds of the playoffs in back-to-back weeks. 

On Monday, Robert Kraft was asked if he anticipated Goodell visiting New England for his team's 2017 season-opener. 

"I think I'll let you all ask him that," Kraft said. "Look, he's the commissioner of the league. As we all know, he has the right to go wherever he wishes to go. If he wants to come, he's welcome to come. We're happy we'll be celebrating our fifth banner. He can decide if he wants to be there."

It appears as though he's decided to be there.