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Beckett speaks out

Ellsbury also discusses Red Sox' 2011 collapse

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / February 4, 2012
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Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who was at the center of the team’s clubhouse drinking scandal last season, broke his silence on the matter on Thursday.

Beckett chose a safe harbor, going on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk,’’ hosted by former teammate Kevin Millar.

“I think the biggest key is what [Jon] Lester said to the end that, we stunk on the field and that was the bottom line,’’ Beckett said. “If we would have pitched better, none of that stuff would have even been an issue. And it shouldn’t be an issue anyway because what goes on in the clubhouse should stay in the clubhouse. I don’t care who says that or whatever, I’m not saying we don’t make mistakes in the clubhouse . . . it’s just what goes on in the clubhouse, it’s supposed to stay in the clubhouse.’’

Beckett also discussed his meeting with new manager Bobby Valentine last month.

“I don’t think we really got specific with anything. Bobby came to my house and we had a great talk,’’ Beckett said. “He seems like he’s really excited about this. I think the first thing I said to him was, ‘Hey, congratulations,’ because I don’t think anybody’s ever been handed something like the Boston Red Sox. The Boston Red Sox, not only the organization, but the team that we have right now is so talented and he even said, ‘Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about.’ ’’

Valentine said at the time that Beckett was “pissed’’ about some of his comments on ESPN last year regarding the righthander’s slow pace on the mound.

“We had a little talk about it and I think it was initiated just as a kind of conversation starter. It wasn’t really anything too detailed,’’ Beckett said. “I think it was one of those deals where he felt bad because somebody else told him he should feel bad about it, but it wasn’t anything for me.’’

Teammate Jacoby Ellsbury also discussed the collapse with the Portland Tribune last week.

“We just didn’t win games at the end,’’ he said. “We started the season off cold, were one of the best teams in baseball through the middle of the season, then fell off at the end. I don’t think you can pinpoint one specific thing as a reason, but it was disappointing to all of us that it happened.’’

He also discussed Terry Francona’s departure and the arrival of Valentine.

“I liked Tito,’’ Ellsbury said. “But sometimes when you don’t win, changes are made. Managers get fired. Players can get traded at any time, too. You have to go about your business and be a professional about it.’’

Valentine recently visited with Ellsbury in Arizona.

“He’s excited for this season,’’ Ellsbury said. “He has a lot of energy. He’ll be good for our players. We’re looking forward to getting started.’’

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

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