Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine on Tuesday said slugger David Ortiz sidelined himself after a brief return from an Achilles injury -- not because of soreness but because the team made a blockbuster deal that sealed its playoff fate.
Ortiz was on the disabled list from July 18 to late August with a strained right Achilles. He went 2 for 4 with two RBIs in a one-game return Aug. 24. The next day, the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers was made official.
The Red Sox were 60-66 on Aug. 24, 13½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 8½ out of a wild-card spot.
"He realized that this trade meant that we're not going to run this race and we're not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore," Valentine said in an interview on "Costas Tonight" on NBC Sports Network. "I think at that time it was all downhill from there."
Ortiz returned to the disabled list on Aug. 27 and never left it.
"It's unfortunate that Bobby would be putting blame on David for the way this season has ended," said Fernando Cuza, Ortiz's agent. "Nothing could be further from the truth. David was having his best season since 2007 and has been one of the most durable players in the game. Based on the advice of the team doctor and his own doctor, resting and therapy was recommended for a complete recovery from this injury.
"David loves to play this game and has never quit on anyone, and most important of all on this team that means so much to him. He has been a leader on this team and is disappointed in Bobby's remarks."
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington vehemently denied the former manager's accusation when reached for comment Tuesday night.
"I wouldn't be trying to re-sign him if I had any concern about David's commitment to baseball or to the Red Sox," Cherington said. "During a trying year, David was a leader for us on and off the field. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury cut his season short. It was a tough break in a season full of tough breaks for us."
The Red Sox and Ortiz are closing in on a two-year contract extension that could be finalized in the next week, according to a baseball source.