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Torre says MLB will investigate

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / October 24, 2011

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ARLINGTON, Texas - Major League Baseball executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said yesterday that his office would investigate the drinking that was going on during games in the Red Sox clubhouse this season.

“It’s something we’re concerned about, just to make sure that we get all the facts and that’s my area,’’ Torre said. “I know I have plans just to talk to some people.’’

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have admitted to drinking during games, with Josh Beckett and John Lackey acknowledging making unspecified mistakes.

The players have denied reports that they drank in the dugout, claiming their actions were confined to the clubhouse. Sox owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino have said the team plans to look into the issue and gather further details.

Torre said there were no set plans for what MLB’s investigation would entail. The drinking was not revealed until after the season, so timing was not a concern.

“It’s something we’re going to look at and find the best way to approach it, let’s put it that way,’’ Torre said. “That’s one thing where I feel comfortable, the fact that I played and I managed. I have no problem talking to someone in regards to baseball, whether it’s behavior or otherwise.’’

The Sox are one of 12 teams that allow alcohol in the clubhouse. Torre said MLB could consider a ban throughout the game. But the bigger issue, he said, was making sure the players understood the weight of their actions.

“If we do happen to bar alcohol from the clubhouses, you have to understand the intent of this thing and what it looks like,’’ said Torre, a former All-Star player who managed the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees, and Dodgers before accepting a position with MLB last year. “We’re up there and we’re role models, or we should be role models for the youngsters and how they behave.

“Guys understand that if they want to do something, they’re going to do something. They’re grown-ups. It’s something where we implement rules that we feel would be best for the game and who we’re being watched by. We’ve got to look at it.’’

Commissioner Bud Selig, in an interview with MLB Network, said the clubhouse drinking by the Sox was something that bothered him.

“You never like to hear that. I’m very image-conscious about the sport and that’s a great, proud franchise,’’ Selig said. “I’m sorry for those stories because they’re not helpful. But I also have great confidence that the Red Sox will get this cleaned up quickly.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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