Valentine Expects Players to Bus it and Bust it in Spring Training

Valentine looking for Bosox to bus it this spring

      FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Bobby Valentine always expects his
players to bust it. The new manager of the Boston Red Sox also
wants his team to bus it this spring.

      When the Red Sox play exhibitions on the road, Valentine says
the players will take the team bus. It's common around the majors
for stars to drive themselves to spring training road games, mostly
to get a fast start home after they're pulled early.

      “I think guys drove to the ballpark when we played away (in
previous springs),” Valentine said Monday. “We're not going to do
that anymore.”

      “Buses. Yeah, buses. Unless there's an exception, someone has
to pick their wife up at the airport along the way. There's always
exceptions to rules,” he said. “The manager and coaches will
drive and at times there might be a player there because at times
there might be a `B' game that I'm going to watch and the bus
leaves early.”

      The Red Sox are coming off a season in which a late collapse
cost them a playoff spot. Valentine has been trying to add games
and innings to get enough time to evaluate everyone.
      Left fielder Carl Crawford was an early arrival among the
pitchers and catchers. Despite having surgery on his left wrist in
January, Crawford looked fine to Valentine.

      “I didn't know he was there,” Valentine said. “I just walked
around the corner, there he was, throwing the ball. It was great to
see him. His health looks much better than I expected. I'm
pleasantly surprised.”

      Crawford had a disappointing first season with the Red Sox last
year and was a target of some of Valentine's pointed criticism as
an analyst for ESPN. The manager, though, is not concerned about
any lingering discomfort.

      “I think it's cleared up,” Valentine said. “And if it's not,
I don't think it's a big deal anyway. I think he's ready to play
baseball. He had the great look in his eye. He's a great athlete.
Looks like he's going to have good health.”
      That's not the case, though, for all his players.

      Right-handed reliever Bobby Jenks is entering the second season
of a two-year, $12 million contract. He appeared in just 19 games,
spanning 15 2-3 innings, last season while limited by injuries,
including a pulmonary embolism. Jenks had two procedures on his
back in the offseason.

      “Bobby said he'd like to take it one week at a time and I'd say
that that means he's a long ways away from thinking about baseball
activities,” Valentine said. “He's really had a terrible
offseason, health-wise, and so he's a real back-burner guy. I don't
expect to see him in many baseball activities for a while, if at
all this spring.”

      “I would think that he would be that in-season trade that
everyone would be looking for and we'd have him right here already.
That's what I'm hoping for. I would think some time into the
season. Things happen differently and that's my opinion,” he said.
      Righty Aaron Cook, a non-roster invitee, will be on a slower
pace than most of the other pitchers.

      Righty Daisuke Matsuzaka and lefty Rich Hill are both making
their way back after each underwent Tommy John surgery in June.
Valentine said they are on similar recovery paths.
      “I think Rich is throwing a little better,” Valentine said.
“I think recovery and healing process is very similar and I think
it could be a similar pace.”
      Valentine does not expect either to pitch in spring training
games.

      After the Red Sox went 7-20 in September, there were reports
that pitchers were drinking beer in the clubhouse during games.
      Valentine said he had made a decision on whether or not to ban
alcohol in the clubhouse, but wasn't going to publicly announce it
yet.

      “I think the players should know first,” he said.
      Valentine will talk to the club after the full squad reports on
Saturday.
      “I've thought about addressing the team,” he said. “I don't
know that I'm going to address any things concerning the regular
season next week. But I've thought about it.”
      

      
      (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)