It wasn’t easy, but Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine managed to make waves in Boston – and Tampa – while sitting in Seattle on Wednesday.
The embattled Valentine was making his weekly appearance on a Boston radio station when host Glenn Ordway asked Valentine if he had “checked out” on his struggling team.
“If I were there right now, I’d punch you right in the mouth,” Valentine said by telephone. “Ha! How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out?”
Valentine was asked about reports he had arrived at the Oakland ballpark at 4 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game last week – he’d gone to the San Francisco airport to meet his son’s flight, which was delayed.
“I shouldn’t have to explain that,” said Valentine, who added that he was angry. “Four o’clock, like that’s so late for a 7:15 game. (Tampa Bay Rays manager) Joe Maddon gets there every day at 4 o’clock, just for the record.”
Informed of Valentine’s comments, Maddon took to Twitter and posted this gem in response: “Apologies to the writers for being late to today’s pregame session. My pedicure appointment ran a little late.”
When Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge met with the media Wednesday, he was asked about Valentine. He laughed and shook his head.
“No comment,” Wedge said.
As for Valentine, his meeting with the media Wednesday included the obvious question: Was he joking when he talked about punching someone in the mouth?
“Yes – didn’t I go ‘Ha ha’? I think I did. I don’t think that physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people,” he said. “It’s all entertainment.”
CENTER FIELD STORY
Between them, Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez have started in center field in 121 of Seattle’s 138 games this season, though neither was available Wednesday.
Both have mild groin strains.
Saunders ran the bases and Gutierrez was monitored throughout batting practice, and Wedge said he was “optimistic” both players would be available on Friday.
PLANS FOR MONTERO
When someone asked what kind of an offseason program the Mariners have in mind for catcher Jesus Montero, Wedge talked about working on his running style.
“We’re talking about form,” Wedge said. “He’s young, and players today take advantage of conditioning and sports performance specialists in the winter. They work on agility, flexibility, power, first-step speed …”
Would he consider using Montero at first base?
“That’s something we might look at next spring,” Wedge said. “If he could play first base, it would give us three ways to get him in the lineup – catcher, first base and designated hitter.”
Rookie Luis Jimenez is well on his way to becoming a batting practice legend at Safeco Field. The left-handed hitter had teammates and coaches laughing in the final round of BP when he hammered a ball into the right field upper deck walkway. … Left-hander Oliver Perez hasn’t allowed a run in his past 17 appearances, which covers 12 innings.
Seattle has today off before Friday’s opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field with the Oakland Athletics.email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners