After Rays' manager Joe Maddon strongly criticized the Red Sox following Friday night's ninth-inning dust-up between both squads, posting a Tweet message in which he called out Bobby Valentine and his staff for being ``cowardly,'' the Sox manager initially attempted to remain mute when asked for his comment on the matter before Saturday night's game vs. the Tampa Rays at Fenway Park.
But Valentine didn't remain mute for long when he leveled a broadside blast at the Rays' coaching staff, taking umbrage at they way they instigated matters after Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales beaned Tampa designated hitter Luke Scott on the leg with a 97-m.p.h. fastball.
"I thought their coaches were really aggressive, as a matter of fact I took offense to the aggressiveness of their coaches,'' Valentine said, referring to the way things escalated when both benches cleared and engaged in a shouting and shoving match near home plate with two out in the top of the ninth inning of Friday night's 7-4 loss vs. the Rays. "I thought it was really unprofessional.
"I was really proud of the way my coaches were trying to do what they were supposed to do in those situations,'' Valentine said.
As for Maddon's staff? ``They seemed very immature and out of control,'' Valentine said. "Coaches are supposed to stop those things from happening and their coaches were agitating, aggravating, and instigating the situation.''
Asked if he had plans to talk to Maddon Saturday, Valentine said, "Don't think so. I didn't yesterday .... But I like Joe.''
In other pregame related matters:
* Valentine reported that OF Ryan Kalish, who started the season the disabled list while recovering from off-season left shoulder surgery, was scheduled to make his first rehab start Saturday night playing five innings at DH for Single A Salem in Frederick, Md. "We'll take it one little step at a time,'' Valentine said. "But it's good to have him back on the field.''
* Carl Crawford (left wrist/elbow) and Ryan Sweeney (concussion) were both medically cleared to begin taking swings. Crawford worked off the tee while Sweeney started off slowly, as well, in the batting cage. For Sweeney, it was his first baseball activity after passing an MLB-mandated neurological test.
* Adrian Gonzalez was penciled into Valentine's lineup as the starting right fielder and hitting out of the No. 5 hole. Gonzalez, who has never played Fenway's expansive right field, did some pregame work taking grounders off the wall and familiarizing himself with its idiosyncratic nooks and crannies. "I think Adrianís as capable as anyone,'' Valentine said, when asked if he had any concerns about Gonzalez being able to handle the crazy bounces that could come his way in right field. ``But for sure there could be some balls that go over into Peskyís corner there and go out into the triangle that can elude him. I think of the part of the baseball field that is the same as everywhere else and there is that part of right field that is the same and heíll cover that area very well, I think."
* Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a rehab start Saturday night for Triple A Pawtucket. The righthander is expected to throw between 70-75 pitches.