BOSTON -- When Bobby Valentine was hired to manage in Japan, he said he eased up a little on the punishing routines normally followed by Japanese teams in spring training.
“I took out the 6:30 a.m. two-mile walk,’’ said Valentine, who managed the Chiba Lotte Marines. “They did it anyway.’’
There will be no predawn walks in Fort Myers for the Red Sox this spring. Any big league manager would be inviting mutiny by implementing something like that.
But Valentine said he plans to arrive at the Fort on Feb. 12, a week before the official report date for pitchers and catchers, and said Wednesday night he has plans to conduct a “volunteer” workout on Feb. 16. He said Jon Lester and Andrew Bailey both told him they’d be headed down in the next few days; Ryan Lavarnway earlier had said he planned to arrive Wednesday.
General manager Ben Cherington plans to arrive at the Sox spring facility ahead of Valentine, pulling into town sometime next week.
Any question that the new management team is eager to get started?
“Everything is going to be so new, like the Japan situation,’’ said Valentine, who in Boston will be starting with a club in spring training, unlike his previous tours in Texas and New York, where he was hired as manager in season.
The Sox go into the spring with decisions to be made in the outfield, shortstop, bullpen and starting rotation, a much more unsettled picture than they have faced going into camp in previous years.
“It’s a difficult competition place,’’ Valentine said. “That a guy is going to win a position [in spring training] is a misnomer.’’
But there will be plenty of evaluation going on, a process, Valentine said, that puts little stock in results. “You make sure you’re not fooled by results,’’ he said.
Following up on a comment he made earlier in the week, Valentine said he’s not big on the concept of platoons, but is not averse to players sharing positions. That appears to be a possibility in both right field and short.
“I don’t like to limit my players,’’ he said. “I don’t say, ‘Hey, he’s only going to hit against right-handers,' even though that sometimes is how it works out."
Valentine has been working “nonstop,” Cherington said, familiarizing himself with the team.
“I’ve been reading a lot,’’ Valentine said. “I’m tired of reading.’’
His overall view of the club:
“I like what we have,’’ he said. “I don’t think it’s anything like a finished product.’’
And it’s useful to remember this, he said:
“Sometimes you make the wrong decision. But it’s never the end of the world in April.’’
Cherington noted Wednesday that he had not met with free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, unlike the Rangers, who met with him Monday, and said it was “unlikely” that the club would add another starting pitcher before the start of camp.
Another major league source had said Wednesday that the Red Sox were most likely out of the picture for free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson too.
"We have some questions to answer. Hopefully we'll get some of those answers in spring training," he said Wednesday. "We may not get all of them answered in spring training. We may have more work to do as we get into the season, evaluate and see how guys respond. The roster may evolve over the course of the season, as has been the case with every team."