November 30, 2011

MLB: Report says Valentine will be named Sox manager

Staff report

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The Boston Red Sox have picked Bobby Valentine to be their next manager and the sides were working to complete a contract, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. Several media outlets in Boston, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier in the evening that Valentine would be the team's new manager.

An announcement could come by Thursday.

"He's got it. I just spoke to him a little while ago," Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who managed Valentine in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in a telephone interview with the AP.

The Red Sox had no comment, spokesperson Pam Ganley said. Valentine would succeed Terry Francona, who left after eight seasons following Boston's record collapse in September.

Francona guided the Red Sox to a pair of World Series championships, in 2004 and 2007.

Valentine was in Japan this week, where he managed from 2004-09, and said he was about to take off on a flight when he sent the AP a text message at 9:48 p.m. Tuesday saying he had no comment on "the Red Sox situation."

Valentine previously managed in the majors with the New York Mets and Texas Rangers. He led the Mets to the 2000 World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees in five games. He had been working as a baseball analyst for ESPN.

"I'm happy for him. I think the Red Sox got themselves a good manager. In all my years, I've never seen a guy prepare a team for a game like he does. That's what makes him unique," Lasorda said.

The Red Sox also interviewed Gene Lamont, Torey Lovullo, Dale Sveum, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Pete Mackanin. Sveum was hired to manage the Chicago Cubs by former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. Mackanin and Alomar were told they were no longer in the running.

The Red Sox have gone nearly two months without a manager, but general manager Ben Cherington has noted that Francona wasn't hired until after Thanksgiving — on Dec. 4, 2003.

Valentine's last major league managerial job was with the Mets in 2002.

Three years earlier, he was ejected for arguing a catcher's interference call in the 12th inning of a 14-inning game against Toronto. Valentine then returned to the dugout wearing a fake mustache and sunglasses. The Mets won 4-3, but Major League Baseball suspended him for three games and fined him $5,000.

The energetic Valentine, 61, has a more confrontational style than Francona, who was known as a player's manager. And that may be just what the Red Sox need after their late-season flop.

They led the AL East for much of the summer but went 7-20 in September, squandering a nine-game lead in the AL wild-card race and finishing in third place in the division, one game behind Tampa Bay.

Francona and the team parted ways two days after the end of the regular season, with Francona saying the players needed a new voice in the clubhouse. The Red Sox didn't pick up his option for 2012.

Soon after, there were reports of starting pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they weren't scheduled to pitch instead of staying on the bench to support their teammates.

Valentine interviewed on Nov. 21 with Cherington and other members of Red Sox management.

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