The talk in the clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins at Fenway Park revolved around an ESPN.com report by Buster Olney who described the Red Sox clubhouse as a `toxic’ environment, which David Ortiz, the leader of the Sox clubhouse, was quick to rebuke.
“It’s not like that, dog,” Ortiz said. “We all get along here. There’s not one guy here that has a problem with the other. We got a bus that we all have to [ride] on and you should see that bus when we’re riding on it. If there’s anything `toxic’ between the players, I couldn’t really tell you, because I’m a guy in control of this [clubhouse], so he’s wrong when it comes down to that.
“I can tell you that in this clubhouse, there’s not one guy who is not going at it — not one,” Ortiz said. “There used to be, but not anymore. Everybody’s on the same page right now.
“We’re just waiting for the guys with injuries to come back so we can get in beast mode and that’s about it.”
Asked for his reaction to the report, Sox manager Bobby Valentine said, “I don’t know how to define `toxic’ it’s too big a word for me. I don’t even comment on people’s articles. I don’t even comment on your articles. Why would I comment on someone that I don’t think knows anything.
“You guys are here everyday.”
Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett offered his summation of the matter in succint fashion: “Completely fabricated,” he said.
“I don’t know where people get that from,” said Beckett, who spoke for the first time since going on 15-day disabled list Sunday (retroactive to June 12th) after declining to speak to the media after each of his past two starts. “I think people want that to be the case, and I just don’t think it is.
“I think there are certain people, they want it to be that way, so they report it that way.”
Beckett said the Sox clubhouse was “one of the tightest-knit groups” he has ever been a part of, pointing to team dinners and family trips on the road as an example.
“We don’t pay too much attention to it,” Beckett said. “The only time we have to deal with it is when we answer questions. This is a great group of guys.”
Cody Ross, who was expected to start his first game since coming off the 15-day DL (broken navicular bone, left foot), said he thought the mere suggestion the Red Sox had a `toxic’ clubhouse “was actually comical,” he said. “We expect this. If we’re another team, where we weren’t as much in the spotlight, maybe it might hurt our feelings. But this is the Red Sox. This is expected. People are going to say stuff about us.
“But we pay no attention to it.”
In other clubhouse matters:
* While Ross was expected to be activated before the game, pending on how he responded to batting practice, Valentine said outfielder Scott Podsednik, who tweaked his left groin running down to first base in Sunday night’s 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, was expected to be placed on the 15-day DL as a corresponding move. “It’s not a few days, but it’s probably not two weeks,” Valentine said of the extent of Podsednik’s recovery period. “When it gets to that middle ground, it’s really a difficult decision to play short for seven days. It’s tough. Scott’s not real happy about it. He thinks seven days would be fine, and he’s playing so well that I’d love to have him in there, but I think this is the right thing to do.”
* Ryan Kalish, who was called up from Triple A Pawtucket prior to Sunday night’s road game vs. the Chicago Cubs and started in center field, seeing his first Major League action since 2010, was penciled into the lineup at center, making his first Fenway appearance in two years. “It was just a special day for me and I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve been here with the guys,” Kalish said of his return to the big leagues in Sunday night’s 7-4 victory. “You know it’s awesome to be here and it’s even better to get a win. Hopefully we continue that roll.”
* Carl Crawford, who continued throwing Tuesday, reported that he hoped to begin seeing game action soon. “Everything feels like it’s coming along fine,” he said. “I feel like every day that goes by, it’s getting better. So right now it’s just a day-to-day thing and right now things are looking good. At some point, I’ll get out of here and go down to Fort Myers and start playing games, get on the fast track, and try to get back up here so I can get back in the lineup. I’m looking forward to it, because it’s been a while since I played, but it’d be nice to get back in the lineup, try to get in a groove and help this team out as much as possible.”
Said Valentine of Crawford’s expected return to game activity: “He’s close. I would expect next week, if not sooner.”
* Jacoby Ellsbury took early batting practice, then practiced running to first and worked on his takeoff moves to second. “I saw him [Monday], he swung real well, swung about 20 times [Monday] and did both live work and tee work today,” Valentine said. “He feels good and that’s very encouraging.” Asked how close Ellsbury was to taking the next step, Valentine said, “He’s close to game activities. I don’t mean tomorrow, but it’s close. He’s made great, steady progress.”