Ellsbury had returned for two games from an undisclosed injury before sitting on Monday. Valentine emphasized that it was his decision to keep Ellsbury on the bench, and that it was more of a baseball move than a health-related move.
Because the Yankees and Orioles are still fighting for the American League East title, there was a lot of attention on the fact Boston started Monday's game with six players who opened the season at Triple-A and a seventh (Danny Valencia) who spent a large portion of the summer there.
"CC [Sabathia] was pitching and I saw [Ellsbury] face [a lefty in Baltimore] a couple of nights before with his breaking ball, and I thought it was a situation where a right-hander might be able to do better, and [Che-Hsuan] Lin got half of our hits, so maybe that hunch was OK," Valentine said.
Again, Valentine was not trying to be a doormat to the Yankees and try to ruin anything for the Orioles.
"I thought I was playing the team that was going to give us a good chance to win," said Valentine. "It's a big center field. Lin is a very good defensive player. Ells really hasn't hit that well against left-handers and Lin got two hits last night, and the first time up he really walked but they called him out on a high 3-2 curveball, so he really would have been on base three times.
"Clay [Buchholz] was going to give us a chance to win yesterday by pitching well, and our offense wasn't going to be able to outmatch them. We were hoping to outpitch them. A little defense would have helped -- I thought. So that's that."