A group of Red Sox players were highly critical of manager Bobby Valentine, some even stating they no longer wanted to play for him, at a meeting with team ownership on July 26, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports.
Irked by Valentine’s decision to leave Jon Lester in a July 22 game in which he surrendered 11 runs, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez reportedly texted his displeasure to ownership on behalf of himself and other players. That message led to owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino meeting with a frustrated group of players at a New York hotel before a series against the Yankees.
“That guy’s (Jeff Passan from Yahoo!) never been in the clubhouse, so what does he know,” Gonzalez said before Tuesday’s game against the Orioles.
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The meeting, three unnamed sources told Yahoo! Sports, turned ugly, with Gonzalez and second baseman Dustin Pedroia among the most vocal in their criticism of Valentine. Less than a week after the meeting, Henry gave Valentine a vote of confidence in an email to reporters.
“I’m not going to comment on any stories, and I don’t know what issues you might be referring to,” Valentine said. “Dustin and I had a talk about a meeting that I had.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that the meeting took place, but did not comment on the tone or content of the meeting.
“The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season,” Cherington told Yahoo! Sports. “That was the intent of the meeting. That was the focus of ownership. It was a productive meeting.
“Since then, we have not gone on the run we were supposed to.”
Gonzalez also acknowledged that a meeting with management took place.
“They had a meeting with the players, they had a meeting with the coaches and they had a meeting with Bobby and it was to assess where we were as a team and as an organization and why we were where we were, and what our thoughts were, basically,” Gonzalez told WEEI.
One player who spoke on the condition of anonymity was present at the meeting but told ESPNBoston.com, “it was just like any other meeting.”
The Red Sox have endured a season of disappointment, injuries and internal turmoil, entering play Tuesday a disappointing 57-59, 11½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 5½ back in the wild-card race. They are 8-9 since the New York meeting.
Report: Red Sox players critical of Bobby V
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