Valentine blasts Girardi
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox and Yankees played a 4-4 tie on Thursday night, the game ending after nine innings when New York manager Joe Girardi told the umpires he was out of pitchers.
Sox manager Bobby Valentine didn’t buy it.
“They had plenty of pitching. Probably too long of a ride,’’ Valentine said. “They could have known that going in.’’
The Red Sox tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on a suicide squeeze by Jason Repko. Ryan Sweeney, who had singled and gone to third on a double by Mike Aviles, scored easily.
When the inning was over, the Red Sox took the field but were waved off by the umpires. Valentine had righthander Clayton Mortensen warmed up and coming in from the bullpen.
“It was regretful that [Clayton] Mortensen warmed up though and then we were told that they weren’t going to play extra innings. I didn’t think that that was very courteous,’’ Valentine said.
“The umpire came over and said we couldn’t play. I don’t care about not playing. Why do I have to warm up my pitcher who’s trying to make a team? Come in in a tie game against the Yankees and maybe help him make a team, and instead he has to walk off the mound and take a shower. That’s just not very courteous.’’
According to their travel roster, the Yankees had seven pitchers available. One of them, D.J. Mitchell, threw in the bullpen during the game and could not have pitched. But the others could have.
“Usually there’s communication between the umpires and the manager and it didn’t happen tonight for whatever reason,’’ Girardi said. “I didn’t know they had another guy.’’
Valentine expected that message to come from Girardi.
“Usually you go over and say, ‘Hey, I don’t have any more.’ I don’t know. I haven’t been around in a long time,’’ he said. “Joe knows better than I. I guess you just walk off the field.
“I’m sure [Girardi] didn’t do anything deliberate. It’s just I have to answer a pitcher who’s trying to make the team. That’s why you use that bullpen.’’
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia left in the third inning after he was hit on the right forearm by a pitch from Yankees starter David Phelps.
Pedroia came away with a bruise, according to the team. Valentine said X-rays were negative but Pedroia will not play Saturday as was originally scheduled.
The Red Sox did not make Pedroia available to the media.
Cook impresses Aaron Cook got a late start to spring training, the Red Sox bringing him along slowly because of a pre-existing shoulder injury.
But now that he’s getting a chance to pitch, the 33-year-old righthander is showing he could become a rotation option before long.
Cook pitched three near-perfect innings against the Yankees before giving up two runs in the fourth inning.
Cook allowed four hits without a walk, struck out two, and threw 31 of his 48 pitches for strikes. He also picked of two runners.
“I was able to establish early strikes and get them swinging. I felt like I had pretty good command of the strike zone all night,’’ Cook said.
Cook was cruising before giving up three hits in a row. Brett Gardner doubled and scored on a triple to center by Curtis Granderson. Andruw Jones then singled in Granderson.
The two runs are the only ones he has allowed in 9 1/3 innings this spring.
With only two possible starts remaining before Opening Day, Cook probably does not have the time to build up enough durability to break camp with the team. But he is putting himself in position to be the first starter called upon when a need arises.
An All-Star in 2008, Cook was 9-18 with a 5.49 earned run average in his last two seasons for the Rockies. Now he’s starting over with the Red Sox, signed to a minor league deal that includes a May 1 out clause.
“I knew they had a couple spots they were trying to fill. And I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to come and prove myself,’’ Cook said. “I want to go out there, prove that I’m healthy, throw strikes, take us deep into games, make it be a hard decision for them to make.’’
Beckett gets work in
It was Josh Beckett’s turn to pitch Thursday. But with the Yankees coming to town, he elected to get his work in against the Single-A Fredrick Keys.
Beckett threw 78 pitches over six innings against the Orioles prospects in a game that started at 12:30 p.m. under a hot sun. He allowed two runs on six hits. The righthander struck out six without a walk.
The crowd consisted mainly of minor leaguers wanting to watch an All-Star pitch. Valentine, astride his bicycle, also stopped by for a few innings.
He liked what he saw from Beckett.
“He threw the pitches he wanted to throw, he had pretty good command of his changeup. His curveball broke very sharply at times,’’ Valentine said. “It was a workmanlike effort.’’
Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught Beckett in the game and was 1 for 2.
After reliever Mark Melancon allowed three runs on three hits in one inning Monday, Valentine joked that he looked good backing up the bases.
Some interpreted that as being a jab at Melancon.
Melancon had made the same joke to Valentine when he came off the field, and the manager meant no harm when he repeated it.
“That wasn’t a negative comment,’’ Valentine said. “Anybody who wanted to make that a negative comment, you have to retract that right now.’’
For the record, Valentine was laughing.
Matsuzaka optimism Daisuke Matsuzaka threw two simulated innings and pitched well, according to Valentine. “After the first four pitches, [he] looked pretty good,’’ Valentine said. According to Valentine, Matsuzaka could return to the majors “closer to June 1’’ than later in the season. That would be well ahead of schedule considering Matsuzaka had Tommy John surgery June 10 . . . NESN’s Peter Gammons reported on Twitter the Red Sox have invited every living person who was ever in uniform back to Fenway Park for the 100th anniversary celebration April 19-20 . . . MLB Players Association chief Michael Weiner and members of his staff met with Red Sox players before the game. It was a lucrative day for the players. In anticipation of possible labor action, the union held back licensing revenue in recent years to build a reserve fund. With a new collective bargaining agreement agreed to, that money is being distributed this spring.