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Thursday, December 29, 2011
Valentine still making the rounds

By Joe McDonald

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has been busy this offseason. He’s met or spoken with many of his new players, but there are two in particular he’s eager to talk with face to face -- pitcher Josh Beckett and left fielder Carl Crawford.

During his career as a baseball analyst for ESPN, Valentine was critical of both Beckett and Crawford, but the new Red Sox manager said he doesn’t believe that will have any effect on their working relationship.

“I talked to Carl Crawford through his agent. I guess that’s how most people communicate this time of the year with Carl,” Valentine said during a 15-minute interview on MLB Network Radio. “But a scheduled eyeball to eyeball is imminent [with Beckett], and one is planned with Carl.”

During the interview, Valentine indicated he would be traveling this weekend to meet with some players on Jan. 1 and 2. It sounded like he would be heading to Texas to meet with pitchers Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett, and hopefully Crawford too.

"Believe me, and I know people want to make it a big deal, from what I gather Carl’s not the guy who banks everything on a conversation,” Valentine said. “He likes to show and he likes to do and if he feels his workouts and his family life are more important than driving a couple of hours to see me, or taking a couple of hours out of his winter schedule to book an appointment, we’ll have plenty of time to be together.

“There is no, from what I gather, any adversarial relationship with either situation. I just want to talk to Carl about his plan for next year. Talking to [Dustin] Pedroia, who has had a couple of text messages with [Crawford], Carl is working his butt off and doing everything he can to put up and make people shut up, and that’s all I’m asking.”