Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, whose dwindling clubhouse support was detailed in an explosive Yahoo! Sports report of a July 26 meeting in New York in which a divide between the players and the manager grew even wider, said he appreciated principal owner John Henry’s clarification of what was said in that meeting.
“As I said before, I regret the fact that he has to be out there,” Valentine said. “If we were 10 games over .500 or in first place [in the division], I don’t think he’d have to make any statements.”
According to the report, several players expressed to management an unwillingness to continue playing for Valentine. But Henry refuted that, saying in remarks e-mailed to reporters that nothing of the sort was ever suggested in the team meeting July 26.
“I appreciate John coming out and saying that,” Valentine said.
Asked if this latest drama to hit the clubhouse was beginning to weigh on him or the team, Valentine replied, “Oh, I don’t know if it’s weighing on me, but the guys are upset that every time we win a game, something else pops out of the bag of tricks. I guess this guy was sitting on the story for about three weeks and decided to wait right before the Yankees series to pop it out there …. Great stuff, really good stuff.”
When apprised about Tuesday’s postgame remarks by Dustin Pedroia, who said the players bore the brunt of the responsibility and criticism and not Valentine for the team’s underachieving record, Valentine said, “I feel bad that he has to have that kind of comment. Dustin’s the warrior of warriors, one of the greatest players that I’ve ever been around. To say that he’s to blame for something? I don’t blame him for anything.
“I think we’re in it together, personally, and I think we’re going to get hot.”
In other matters:
* David Ortiz said he had been shut down for the last three days and had not done any hitting because of lingering soreness in his strained right Achilles’. “He’s trying to get rid of all the soreness,” Valentine said. “Until it’s completely gone, they don’t want to start up.”
Asked how much the team missed Ortiz the last four weeks since going on the DL July 17, Valentine said, “David’s a great player, but we’re getting guys up there in the right situation. There’s no telling whether or not David would be driving them in or not. We’ll wait for him to get back and we’ll be fine until he does.”
Valentine said he was not certain how the team’s record would impact Ortiz’s expected return. “I have no idea about David coming back,” he said. “I pray that he is — this year and next.”
* Andrew Bailey, who made his first appearance Tuesday on the same day he was activated from the 60-day disabled list after missing the first 116 games of the season, was available to pitch out of the bullpen Wednesday night. “That’s why he only pitched to the two hitters [Tuesday],” Valentine said. “Feels pretty good, as a matter of fact.”
Asked what he hoped Bailey showed in the last five weeks of the season, Valentine replied, “I hope he settles right into being the kind of pitcher that we traded for and I’m sure he will.”
* Felix Doubront was off Wednesday, but indicated he was expecting to throw a bullpen session Saturday in New York in the hopes of getting ready to return to the rotation in time to start the opener of a seven-game homestand, beginning next Tuesday night vs. the Los Angeles Angels. “I think once we get home, he’ll be right back in the saddle,” Valentine said.
* The last two outs of “King” Felix Hernandez’s perfect game in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over the Tampa Rays were broadcast on the center field video board at Camden Yards during the Red Sox batting practice. It was the 23d perfect game in MLB history and the first for the Mariners franchise.