NEW YORK — Batting practice was long over and his teammates were in the clubhouse preparing to face the Yankees on Friday when David Ortiz took a seat in the dugout to speak to a handful of reporters about the issues swirling around the Red Sox.
Ortiz came to the defense of manager Bobby Valentine, saying he should not be fired. That some of his teammates may not support Valentine is incidental, he said.
“Who cares if a player’s against a manager? We’ve got to deal with the manager anyway,” Ortiz said. “A manager is not something you can go and change like you change your underwear. It can happen at some point, but the possibility of it having especially in the middle of the season is a small percent, so that’s not our case.”
Ortiz does not believe Valentine is to blame for the team falling so far out of contention.
“I think Bobby’s doing great, man. He had to deal with so many things through the season, a lot of guys’ injuries. I guarantee if he doesn’t have that many guys go onto the DL this year, history would be different this year, and all the talks and negativity that have come out against him, I don’t think it would be there.
“Because what does it mean if you’re playing well? He can’t manage the team and at the same time go and play for us. All he can do is make moves and make decisions. But if you don’t have your squad out there providing what you expect — because of injuries or bad games or whatever — I don’t think people should be looking at it like it’s his fault we struggled the way we have this year.”
Ortiz declined to take part in the July 26 meeting in New York called by some of his teammates to complain about Valentine. Since spring training, Ortiz has been a vocal supporter of Valentine.
But Ortiz is angry that details of the attempted mutiny were leaked and became a story earlier this week.
“It affects the players,” Ortiz said. “The other day, [Dustin] Pedroia was playing baseball out there [ticked] off and not focused on what he wants to do because that report came out saying he was against the manager.
“How do you think he’s going to feel out there? … That kid, he wants to do nothing but play baseball no matter who his manager is, no matter who’s the umpire, who’s the fan — he don’t care. He wants to go out there and beat the crap out of whoever he’s playing against that day.”