Some Highlights From Bobby Valentine’s Media Session
Bobby Valentine met with the media on Sunday morning prior to taking in some workouts with his new team. For 27 minutes the electric Valentine discussed his new role, the team’s attitude, the shortstop dilemma, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard and a whole lot more.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe has the entire media session, but for those looking for the highlights, we have them here. Full credit to Abraham.
Valentine got the session started by discussing the holes that potentially exist at shortstop and right field.
“As far as positions we have a vacancy at shortstop, we have a vacancy in right field. Right now Carl [Crawford’s] health is a question for maybe Opening Day anyway. So we’ll deal with left field. A couple of spots in our starting rotation and our bullpen has open spots, also.
Those are the questions that need to be answered. The idea of all the things coming together need to be answered.”
When asked about the attitude of the team, Valentine was quick to point out that Jon Lester and Josh Beckett have had a great attitude thus far and he expects them to lead by example.
“Considering there were some major issues last year at the end and there’s major changes here at the beginning, I’m concerned about the attitude. But attitude filters down. When you see Josh Beckett and Jon Lester here, they’re the top of the pyramid as far as pitchers are concerned. They came early and they’re been showing fantastic attitude. So far that attitude with the pitching staff seems to be filtering down.”
We’ve heard some reports that some of the players have been grumbling over Valentine’s demanding work ethic in spring training. The skipper reiterates that this spring is about restoring confidence in everyone involved.
“Players need confidence. Coaches need confidence. Managers need confidence in each other. The way you build confidence, I think, is through repetition. Confidence can replaced for courage. Often when you play before 50,000 people and you’re on national TV and the bases loaded and you’re on the mound or at the plate or there’s a line drive in the gap, you have to have the courage to do what you think you need to do. Right here is where that courage begins to build with practice.”
Valentine, like the rest of us baseball fans, compares the start of spring training to that of Christmas.
“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. It’s the greatest part of the year for me. It was more than Christmas. It was more than birthdays for me.”
When asked about Clay Buchholz, Valentine is impressed with what he sees from the youngster.
“First impressions of Clay Buchholz have been very impressive. He led the charge in the 300-yard [dash] with Jon Lester the first day. He set a great example there. When he’s stood on the mound and propelled the ball forward, every time he’s done it has been outstanding. I’m very impressed. In the training room, the reports are excellent. He has a great look in his eye.”
Daniel Bard brings many question marks this season. Whether or not he can successfully convert to a starter or is he best suited to take over the closing role. Bobby V doesn’t seem to be worried about the transition.
“In my career I haven’t seen a great challenge [in doing it]. Usually guys are starting pitchers in their mindset because they were in Little League and high school for the most part; many of them through college. Then you get into get into the big competition and you wind up somewhere else. Mentally, I don’t think it’s that great a challenge.”
The fiery manager realizes that this team is the most talented roster he’s ever had but admits that it won’t change how he manages.
“I have more star players going into this season than I ever have, I think. How I’ll manage will be determined by who it is I’m managing. That group of star players is not who I’m managing.”
Finally, when asked about Jose Iglesias, Bobby is excited about working with such a talented youngster. But he didn’t tip his hand as to whether or not he expects Iglesias to crack the lineup.
“He’s a very intriguing player. I’m very anxious to see him, work with him and figure out who and what he is. Looking forward to it.”
As mentioned, the above quotes from Bobby Valentine are courtesy of Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
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