Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Red Sox brass not blaming Valentine

BOSTON — First the Red Sox lost Friday as Fenway celebrated its 100th anniversary. Then Boston blew a nine-run lead Saturday and lost to the Yankees 15-9.

But believe it or not, then things got better, at least for manager Bobby Valentine.

Sunday the series finale was rained out, saving Valentine the awkwardness of having the manager he replaced, Terry Francona, call the game as the analyst for ESPN's scheduled broadcast.

But more important, shortly after Saturday's debacle, GM Ben Cherington, team president Larry Lucchino and principal owner John Henry met with Valentine for 30 minutes and said they weren't blaming him for the 4-10 start.

"This is not a 14-game problem," Henry was quoted as saying by CBSSports.com. "This is a 41-game problem (dating to the Red Sox's 7-20 collapse in September 2011). Our pitching has been terrible over the last 41 regular-season games."

Said Cherington, "The players will always influence wins and losses more than anybody else, and that's no different here. (Valentine is) doing the best he can with the roster he has. It'll get better. He knows that, and I know that, and along the way, if changes need to be made on the roster, that's my responsibility."

Cherington said he is "very satisfied" with Valentine.

"It's been a tough week. If I had to rate them all, this is one of the toughest," Valentine said Sunday. "When you're 4-10, it's not easy to say that everything is going perfectly. But I think they're good players, high quality, and we're going to win a lot of games."

The Red Sox, who have lost five in a row, open a seven-game road trip to Minnesota and Chicago today. No makeup date with the Yankees was announced.

"They've bounced back before," Valentine said. "This is a psychological situation. You've got to be tough. I think we're a tough team. We'll find out."

Daniel Bard, who was to start Sunday's game, will skip his turn and work out of the bullpen in relief temporarily. When the team needs a fifth starter, it will be Bard, Valentine said.

Other rainouts: The Giants game in New York against the Mets was postponed because of rain and rescheduled as part of a single-admission doubleheader today beginning at 4:10 p.m. The Mets will push starter Johan Santana to Tuesday, so Miguel Batista will make a spot start against Giants ace Tim Lincecum in Game 1, and Madison Bumgarner will start against Dillon Gee in Game 2. In Washington, the series finale between the Nationals and Marlins was called; no makeup date was scheduled.

Humber back to work: White Sox RHP Phil Humber, who threw the 21st perfect game in major-league history Saturday, returned each of the 100-plus text messages he received and listened to all the phone calls of congratulations before falling asleep by 1:30 a.m. Sunday. But Sunday morning he was back to his usual poststart routine preparing for his start Thursday against Boston. "I've got to pitch in four days. It's not like the season is over and you can kind of just go home and think about it," Humber said.

Blue Jays: Francisco Cordero will serve as closer with Sergio Santos going on the DL after being diagnosed with shoulder inflammation.

Cardinals: CF John Jay will return to St. Louis to have his sprained right shoulder re-examined.

Padres: INF/OF Kyle Blanks will have season-ending surgery on his left shoulder, the second time he has had a year cut short by a major operation. He tore his labrum while swinging a bat. Blanks, 25, had elbow ligament replacement surgery that ended his 2010 season.

Tigers: RHP Doug Fister, on the 15-day DL since April 8 with a left side strain, said he didn't have a timetable for his recovery.

Twins: RHP Nick Blackburn (right shoulder) will rejoin the rotation and pitch Tuesday against Boston.

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