Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Quick hits with Bobby V
By Joe McDonald
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was holding his daily briefing with the media on Wednesday, the music from within the clubhouse could be heard clearly on the outside.
That means DJ David Ortiz has arrived.
Ortiz is the only player with a double locker stall in the new Red Sox clubhouse at JetBlue Park. His real estate consists of a corner stall, with his own full-length mirror and another bench against the wall.
It didn’t take him long to unpack and set up camp with the music blaring.
“They told me it would be loud and Merengue, and they were right,” Valentine said. “The clubhouse is full of David right now and I expect him to have that smile as often as possible so he can light up our clubhouse and our dugout. I’m hoping he can swing the bat like he did last year.”
Leadership 101: Based on what happened to the Red Sox in the final month of the 2011 season, a main focus this spring training has been the leadership qualities of the players.
“I want them to understand the difference between right and wrong, and for those who are confused, put them on the right pace,” Valentine said.
Captain, my captain: Depending on the status of veteran catcher Jason Varitek, Valentine hasn’t decided whether or not the Sox will name a successor to the captain.
“I haven’t planned on that,” Valentine said. “If the team thinks a captain is a cool thing, I think that could be considered. It’s not like I don’t think a captain is necessary. Then again, I don’t know if it’s so necessary that you can’t live without it.”
Then Valentine asked a simple question: “Who was the captain last year of [World Series champion] St. Louis?”
Members of the media did not have the answer.
“They didn’t have one,” Valentine said. “So you can win a world championship without a captain.”
Valentine added: “If Jason Varitek is not on the team, I think there’s a lot of void that needs to be filled. From what I gather because I was never in uniform with him, he brought a lot to the table even when he wasn’t playing, and part of what he did was bridge the gap of understanding between catchers and pitchers.”
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was asked if he would want to wear the ‘C,’ but that’s something he said he’s not interested in.
New digs cause dents: Speaking of Pedroia, following the voluntary workout for position players, he was sitting at his locker in the new clubhouse at JetBlue Park and sporting a nasty gash on the top of his head. He explained that he smashed his melon on the corner of the shelf drawer atop his locker stall earlier in the day.
V meets Iggy: On one of the back fields during voluntary workouts for position players on Wednesday, Valentine stood and watched the defensive prowess of shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias. Valentine compared Iglesias to Rey Ordonez, who played for him with the Mets.
“My first impression is that he can catch it,” Valentine said. “I bet he can throw it after he catches it, too. He has an interesting exchange. A lot of people will make the comparison, and I did see similarities to Rey Ordonez in play/glove action. Initially, it looked like he had more range than Rey."
Too early for lineups: In the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday, the video board at JetBlue Park flashed a Red Sox lineup card. Here was the order:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Adrian Gonzalez
4. Kevin Youkilis
5. David Ortiz
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
7. Carl Crawford
8. Nick Punto
9. Cody Ross
Valentine has already fielded a number of questions about the batting order, especially in regards to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Both Crawford and Dustin Pedroia want to hit second in the order because that’s where they're are the most comfortable. Once Grapefruit League actions starts and Valentine pencils in a lineup, he wants to make sure each player will be put in a spot that will give the entire lineup success.
“There is a thing about hitting in an order that sometimes guys have mental conditions,” explained Valentine. “I'm pretty sure it was Mike Piazza who came to me [with the Mets] and said, ‘Hey, I can’t hit fourth.’ I said, ‘Oh, you should have told me before I made the lineup.’ Then he hit fourth for us and he’s going to the Hall of Fame, so it’s one of those things.”