Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that his spring training regimen has so far been met with some grumbling from players who aren’t used to his more demanding style.
“When I look at the program we devised, I don’t think of it as tough. But it seems it’s different because a lot of people are frowning. I just asked them to give (it) a few days,” Valentine said, according to The Boston Globe. “We all know that no one likes change except for those who are making other people change of what that person want them to. I happen to be one of those guys who likes change because guys are doing what I want them to do. I would bet there will be 100 guys who won’t really like it because it’s change for them. But they’ll get used to it.”
Red Sox workouts under former manager Terry Francona in recent seasons had been more lax. Valentine, meanwhile, has a reputation for pushing his players. In fact, Valentine wants to make the club’s games against Northeastern and Boston College nine innings instead of seven and also wants to add a couple of games to the team’s spring training schedule.
“The more we see (the pitchers) the easier it’s going to be for us to know what we have,” Valentine said, according to the Globe. “It can be played anywhere. I’d like the other guys to have different uniforms and I’d like to be able to see it if possible.”
Those games are likely to either be split-squad games or intrasquad games played on a practice field. He said there weren’t as many of those types of games in spring training anymore “because there’s a lot of lazy people in the game today.”
“Everyone says (spring training) is too long. I think that’s baloney,” Valentine said. “To get guys really ready, I think everyone’s working the deadline to get a starter with 30 innings and five (starts). The numbers just don’t compute.”
Valentine’s comments Wednesday were his first public remarks from the team’s new spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla. He begins his first camp as Red Sox manager with the team coming off a 7-20 September collapse and a messy aftermath that revealed some pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse on their off days.
Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, for one, said Wednesday that he thinks the structure and rigorous workouts are just what the Red Sox need.
“Sometimes when you veer off the path that you need to take, you need someone there to tell you, ‘Hey this is where we need to go and I see you doing this,’ ” he told the Boston Herald. “In that aspect, it’s going to be good for us.”
Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said Wednesday that he expects a changed atmosphere under the traditional hard-liner Valentine, whom he met with in Boston last week.
“One of the things I really like is that in spring training we’re going to pay attention to a lot of details,” Gonzalez said in an interview on ESPN Radio. “Not just doing things for the sake of doing them, but actually doing them to get something out of it. Spring training is going to be a little more lengthy. That’s where it’s going to start and it’s going to go from there. Spring training is something that is really going to set the tone for the rest of the season, I think.”