Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Updated: October 25, 10:43 AM ET
Tim Bogar rebuts Bobby Valentine
By Joe McDonald ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar shot back Wednesday at former manager Bobby Valentine's contention that he felt undermined by his coaching staff this past season, and Bogar also offered his perspective on the team's dismal 2012.
"I'm not upset about him or anything he says, but what bothers me is the perception of me and the other coaches is completely wrong," he told ESPNBoston.com. "That bothers me because of what the coaches went through this year and what we dealt with. I did exactly what (general manager) Ben (Cherington) asked me to do. I'm not saying I did everything perfect because I didn't and I know that."
Valentine has not been shy about criticizing his coaches. In the final week of the season, Valentine said during a radio interview that he felt his coaching staff was not loyal to him. On Tuesday, the same day the Red Sox introduced John Farrell as their next manager, Valentine appeared on the "Costas Tonight" program on NBC Sports Network and was again critical of the coaching staff, saying, "I should have made sure the coaches were my guys."
Bogar's comments Wednesday were the first from any of his former coaching staff since Valentine's latest remarks.
Tim Bogar, Valentine's bench coach, said, "The coaching staff was prepared to do everything that we were supposed to do to help Bobby succeed."
Bogar was a holdover from ex-manager Terry Francona's staff, serving as first-base coach in 2009 and third-base coach in 2010-11. He was promoted to Sox bench coach under Valentine, who approved the move.
"The coaching staff was prepared to do everything that we were supposed to do to help Bobby succeed," Bogar said, "but not once did he portray what he wanted us to do to help him and eventually he shut some of us out completely."
Valentine mentioned many times during the season that there were breakdowns in communication. Cherington and ownership admitted as much, too.
When asked to comment more about the coaching situation, Cherington said Wednesday in an email response to ESPNBoston.com: "I think I've said enough about 2012."
Attempts to contact Valentine for comment were unsuccessful.
Bogar said Wednesday that he kept working hard and remained professional throughout the season.
"I did my best, along with all the other coaches, to keep everyone on track," Bogar said. "Some things are public, some will stay private, but no one will truly understand what had to be handled behind those clubhouse doors. Being professional in these matters is the only way to go about it."
Bogar said Wednesday he felt he had a great rapport with the Red Sox players.
"You don't know how many times these guys would come and talk to me about stuff," Bogar said. "The last couple of times I've read stuff about that there was no communication or the communication was bad -- the only bad communication was between Bobby and everyone. The rest of the communication was great. I talked to the players daily about stuff. We talked about everything. The coaches talked about everything."
According to numerous team sources, Valentine resented the fact that the players often spoke with the coaching staff and not directly with him.
In the final week of the season, Cherington admitted he had many conversations with Valentine and the coaching staff during the season in an attempt to fix the issues that existed.
"We spent a lot of time communicating about what was going on and how it was being handled," Bogar said.
During the interview with Costas, Valentine addressed some of the situations that became public, including the spring training incident with shortstop Mike Aviles in which numerous Red Sox personnel said the manager belittled the veteran shortstop. Valentine also said that veteran designated hitter David Ortiz, who played only one game after a July 16 injury to his Achilles, decided to "not play anymore" after the team made the nine-player trade that sent pitcher Josh Beckett, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 25.
Ortiz has yet to comment on Valentine's remarks -- he's on the verge of re-signing for two years -- but others want to set the record straight as far as how Bogar and the coaching staff dealt with all the issues this season.
"To me, Bogey was that calming voice that was always thinking baseball," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia told ESPNBoston.com on Wednesday. "He was trying to put us in the best situation to succeed, whether that was baserunning, defensive positioning or just mentioning to calm down at the plate. And his timing was always right on. He's a very smart, no-nonsense guy, which you appreciate."
Aviles, recently traded to the Toronto Blue Jays as compensation for Farrell, credited Bogar with helping him develop as a shortstop.
"I think Bogey did a tremendous job," Aviles said Wednesday. "I have a great relationship with Bogey, and it started when I first came over (in 2011). He was a big reason for me taking that step forward and becoming a pretty decent shortstop."
Aviles explained that Bogar helped him both on and off the field during his time in Boston.
"When I would have a question, I would go to Bogey," Aviles said. "He knew me as a person and as a player and knew how to talk to me. He knew how to calm me down sometimes when I got a little too upset. He's one of those guys who has great communication skills and he was always ready to work.
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"During the tough times, Bogey was definitely the bridge. He was able to talk to Bobby, and Bobby was able to talk to him, and vice-versa with the players. Bogey was a great bridge communicating to both sides because he understood Bobby the best. Bobby was here only one year, so nobody really understood him or knew him. No one had that long relationship, and it was tough for Bobby, but Bogey knew him from his playing days. And Bogey knew the players and was able to communicate and be the bridge to have things run a little bit smoother than normal."
The Red Sox coaching staff under Farrell is being established. Sources told ESPNBoston.com that Torey Lovullo, who was the first-base coach in Toronto with Farrell and also the manager at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010, will be named Red Sox bench coach.
Bogar recently turned down a job as bench coach of the Houston Astros. There's a chance he could remain with the Red Sox in some capacity. He previously worked with Farrell in Boston when Farrell was Francona's pitching coach before leaving to manage the Jays starting in the 2011 season.
"You're supposed to do what's professional, and I did," Bogar said. "Now, whenever I get called for another job, the first thing they ask is, 'So what's the deal with what happened between you and Bobby and why would he say you undermined him?' So I have to explain myself.
"I don't think my reputation and what I've done in this game is being fairly justified by what has gone on here the last year."