By Larry LaRue The News Tribune
SEATTLE — It wasn’t easy, but Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine managed to make waves in Boston — and Tampa — while sitting in Seattle on Wednesday.
The embattled Valentine was making his weekly appearance on a Boston radio station when host Glenn Ordway asked Valentine if he had “checked out” on his struggling team.
“If I were there right now, I’d punch you right in the mouth,” Valentine said by telephone. “Ha, ha! How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out?”
Valentine was asked about reports he’d arrived at the Oakland ball park at 4 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game last week — he’d gone to the San Francisco airport to mean his son’s flight, which was delayed.
“I shouldn’t have to explain that,” Valentine said. “That pisses me off. Four o’clock, like that’s so late for a 7:15 game. (Tampa Rays) Joe Maddon gets there everyday at 4 o’clock, just for the record.”
Informed of Valentine’s comments, Maddon took to Twitter and posted this gem in response:
“Apologies to the writers for being late to today’s pregame session. My pedicure appointment ran a little late.”
When Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge met with the media Wednesday, he was asked about Valentine he laughed and shook his head.
“No comment,” Wedge said.
As for Valentine, his meeting with the media Wednesday included the obvious question: Was he joking when he talked about punching someone in the mouth?
“Yes — didn’t I go ‘Ha ha’? I think I did. I don’t think that physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people,” he said. “It’s all entertainment.”
Between them, Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez have started in center field in 121 of Seattle’s 138 games this season, though neither was available Wednesday.
Both have mild groin strains.
Saunders ran the bases and Gutierrez was monitored throughout batting practice, and Wedge said he was ‘optimistic’ both men would be available on Friday after today’s off day.
Montero at first?
When someone asked what kind of an off-season program the Mariners might put catcher Jesus Montero on, Wedge talked about working on his running style.
“We’re talking about form,” Wedge said. “He’s young, and players today take advantage of conditioning and sports performance specialists in the winter. They work on agility, flexibility, power, first step speed …”
Would he consider using Montero at first base?
“That’s something we might look at next spring,” Wedge said. “If he could play first base, it would give us three ways to get him in the lineup — catcher, first base and designated hitter.”
Rookie Luis Jimenez is well on his way to becoming a batting practice legend at Safeco Field. The left-handed hitter had teammates and coaches laughing in the final round of BP when he hammered a ball into the right field upper deck walkway. … Lefty Oliver Perez hasn’t allowed a run in his last 17 appearances, which covers 12 innings.