BOSTON -- Though his first season as the manager of the Red Sox wasn't anything like he hoped or expected, Bobby Valentine is confident it won't be his last.
In the hours leading up to Wednesday's home finale against the Rays, Valentine said he hadn't pondered that it could be his last Fenway game as manager until a reporter mentioned it to him.
As for the barrage of injuries and a blockbuster trade that sent some key players out of town, Valentine didn't use those as excuses for his team's 69-86 record.
"All those variables are things I think I'm prepared to handle," Valentine said. "When I come back next year, I'll think I'm prepared to handle them. Hopefully we'll have better results."
Yes, Valentine did say "when" he comes back.
"There hasn't been any dialogue [with front office and ownership]," said Valentine, who has a year left on his contract. "We've talked, but [not about the job], which makes me think I'm coming back. I don't know."
It was mentioned to Valentine that he "got cheated" out of the typical experience of managing at Fenway Park, a venue which is usually filled with drama-filled victories and postseason runs.
"I got cheated? I don't know if I feel like I got cheated," Valentine said. "We didn't have it. That's for sure. I feel something, I feel bad that we didn't have it."
Did Valentine learn anything about himself during a trying season?
"I don't know about learning about myself. I have the gas masks. I can handle the chemical weapons. The bullets penetrated but they didn't kill me," quipped Valentine. "What do I know about myself? I'm almost a year older. I know that. And it's gone quickly."