With his team having averted being swept by the lowly Minnesota Twins in a 6-4 victory in the four-game series finale Sunday at Fenway Park, embattled Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was hit Monday with questions about his job security after one Boston newspaper called for him to be fired.
Entering Monday night’s home game against the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox found themselves one game below the .500 mark (54-55) and 4 1/2 games out of the American League wild-card race with 52 regular-season games remaining, which gave rise to speculation about whether Valentine was now managing for his managerial life.
“I have no idea,” Valentine said. “I manage for my job every day. I try to give my best every day that I come out. We’re on a winning streak now, so I kind of like that.”
Asked if there was more pressure to win in Boston than anywhere else in the Major Leagues, Valentine replied, “I think pressure is that thing that you put on yourself when you’re unprepared. I think that I’ve been prepared every day. I’m prepared today for whatever happens, but I don’t know about ‘pressure.’
“I have great expectations when I wake up every day of my life,” he said.
Asked about his handling of the team and how the players responded to his managerial style, Valentine replied, “I don’t know what my style is. I think that all the players are having a good season and a lot of them have responded pretty well and the guys who haven’t done so well, I guess you could say they haven’t responded so well, I would guess.”
But did Valentine find himself having to adjust to how he’s handled things as opposed to 10 years ago?
“Yeah, sure, I think I adjust every day,” he said. “Ten years ago? Fifteen years ago? Absolutely, that’s like the dark ages. Absolutely. It’s silly to think that you don’t evolve and change — unless you’re dead. But then you’re still decaying, because it’s what everyone does. They do it the same time. They always do it, huh? — get older. Dead people do that.”
In other matters:
* DH David Ortiz, who was still experiencing some discomfort in his strained right Achilles’ after undergoing a full-bore workout Sunday, received an injection to help him deal with the lingering pain. “I talked to him earlier and he said today he was going to get an injection to try and get rid of some of the pain when he works out,” Valentine said. “He says he feels good when he’s working and then it hurts afterwards.”
Asked about a possible timetable on Ortiz’s return from the disabled list, Valentine declined to say whether it would be days or weeks. “That’s why I always hate to say a day or a week,” Valentine said. “When he’s ready, I’ll be ready to put him in the lineup. I thought it was days a couple of days ago, so it was probably wrong, huh?”
* Scott Atchison met today with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., to receive a second opinion on the torn ulnar collateral ligament that was revealed by the MRI exam he underwent a week ago. “He saw Dr. Andrews today and he’s going to make a determination in the next couple of days when he evaluates all the opinions,” Valentine said of Atchison.
* Daisuke Matsuzaka, on the 15-day DL with a right upper trapezius strain, made his second rehab start with Triple A Pawtucket Sunday vs. Lehigh Valley, and gave up four runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk with striking out three batters over 3.0 innings (75 pitches, 49 strikes).
* Andrew Bailey, on the 60-day DL recovering from right thumb surgery, made his third rehab appearance Sunday with Double A Portland vs. Erie, and allowing one run in an inning of relief while striking out two batters, giving him six strikeouts over three innings in three rehab outings. He will make back-to-back starts next Wednesday and Thursday with Triple A Pawtucket.
* LHP Rich Hill will probably go to Fort Myers, Fla., once this 10-game homestand ends and throw a batting practice before getting into a Gulf Coast League game.