Dec 7, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine answers question for a press conference during the MLB winter meetings at Hilton Anatole. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Valentine hits the ground talking...reveals first impressions of his new team

Bobby Valentine arrived at the new Red Sox Spring training complex in Fort Myers and, in an interview with WEEI’s Alex Speier, offered a few observations on the state of the team  Here are a few highlights:

COMPETITION FOR POSITIONS:  SS, RF, ROTATION, PEN

“As far as positions, we have a vacancy at shortstop, we have a vacancy in right field. Right now, [Carl Crawford]’s health is of question for maybe Opening Day anyway – for opening day of Spring Training. We’ll deal with left field. You know a couple of spots in our starting rotation and our bullpen has open spots also. If you mean just the personnel, those are the questions that need answers. The general idea of all the things coming together need to be answered.”

RECOVERING FROM THE SEPTEMBER SWOON

“I definitely believe actions speak louder than words, and the actions I’ve watched in the last five or six days are speaking volumes. I think our fans will want to see more than they want to hear, but I think they need to hear something also. I don’t know if I’ll address it. I hear that the first day state of the union is a multitask, that there’s a lot of talk going on that day. I’m not sure if I’m last up that I’m going to have to say anything. The last thing I want to do is be redundant, but I want to be emphatic. And I think everyone wants to be emphatic, and if it needs to be said again, I will. …

As far as a fresh start is concerned, absolutely. For everyone in this camp. This is 2012. This is the year that could be the most special year of their life. That is definitely a message I want them to understand, regardless of what happened last year, whether they were in Korea or Boston or the National League West. I want them to think this is a special year.

SCUTARO TRADE

“We talked about that before it was done. I was all on board with it, totally. Believe it or not, when I make out the lineup against Boston University and Boston College a couple of days from now, I’ll have a shortstop. And to some surprises out there, when we open up in Detroit, there will also be a shortstop.” (Valentine was subsequently informed that it will be Northeastern and BC who oppose the Red Sox; BU does not have a baseball team.)

Brian MacPherson, Providence Journal, says:

Had Scutaro been retained, he almost certainly would have been the Opening Day starter at shortstop for the Red Sox. The trade of Scutaro did not leave the cupboard bare, however, as Valentine was quick to point out. Mike Aviles and Nick Punto both will compete for the job in spring training.

“Believe it or not, when I make out the lineup against (Northeastern) and Boston College a couple of days from now, I’ll have a shortstop,” Valentine said. “To some surprises out there, when we open up in Detroit, there will also be a shortstop.” [Valentine]

Clay Buchholz‘ CONDTION

“His health and the training room reports are excellent. He has a great look in his eye. And it’s been five days.”

 

ROTATION PROSPECTS

Daniel Bard, I can tell you right off, the get-go, Daniel Bard is drawing a lot of attention. Love what we see and love what we’re thinking about. Andrew Miller can fall into a very similar situation. … I don’t want to just pick them out of the crowd, even though I just did. There are probably, I would say, eight guys who are going to be vying for those starting jobs, and we’ve seen five of them and they all look good. [Felix] Doubront looks terrific so far.”

Valentine also told Tim Britton, Providence Journal today:

“I grew up waiting for the grass to get green and the tulips to come up and the weather to warm and the snow to melt as the greatest part of the year for me,” Valentine said. “It was more than Christmas for me, more than birthdays. I think that a lot of people of our region empathize with that and understand that it’s a new beginning. That’s what spring is. It’s the new beginning. It’s a time for excitement.”

It’s also a time for the new manager to better acquaint himself with his team and its talents.

“Spring training for me is simply the foundation that you’re going to build as you move forward. Players need confidence. Coaches need confidence,” he said. “Right here is where that courage begins to build, with practice. Spring training is about practice.”

FULL INTERVIEW, HERE: http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2012/02/19/and-so-it-begins-bobby-valentine-on-the-state-of-the-red-sox-as-spring-training-opens/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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Tags: Alex Speier Andrew Miller Bobby Valentine Brian MacPherson Carl Crawford Clay Buchholz Daniel Bard Felix Doubront INTERVIEW Jose Iglesias Mike Aviles Practice Providence Journal Spring Training Tim Britton WEEI

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