Valentine heads home uncertain about future

Valentine heads home uncertain about future

Valentine heads home uncertain about future
NEW YORK -- Uncertainty -- perhaps even finality -- hovered around Bobby Valentine on Wednesday, as he managed the last game of an incredibly trying first season with the Red Sox. Though Valentine has a year left on his contract, rumors have swirled for weeks that he won't be retained for 2013.

"I'm waiting to hear," said Valentine.

Valentine flew back to Boston with the Red Sox after Wednesday's 14-2 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He didn't know what the immediate future held.

"My plans right now are [to] wake up [Thursday] and have a long bike ride," Valentine said.

Has it been difficult to come to work every day amid such rampant speculation about job security?

"No. [I'm] just bothered by the last six weeks of having to answer that question without an answer," said Valentine.

Valentine seemed to be keeping things in proper perspective.

"[Either way], my life will be fine," he said.

Around the same time Valentine was holding his pregame news conference, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote an article stating that "Red Sox upper management intends to remove Bobby Valentine as manager soon after the season ends, people familiar with the situation say."

Prior to Wednesday's game, general manager Ben Cherington didn't confirm that assertion, but he didn't deny it either.

"I'm not going to talk about it," said Cherington. "We have a game tonight. We've said many times, Bobby's managing the team through the end of the year, and we'll talk about it after the season. That's what we'll do. We're not going to talk about it anymore than that."

Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross praised Valentine after Wednesday's game.

"He was just like us -- he was in a fight the whole time," Ross said. "And [he] kept battling. He was great. Great to me personally, just a great man. Like I said, he had a tough, tough time, just like we all did."

VALENTINE'S MANAGERIAL RECORD
Bobby Valentine went 69-93 during his first year at the helm of the Red Sox.
Year Team G W L
1985 Rangers 129 53 76
1986 Rangers 162 87 75
1987 Rangers 162 75 87
1988 Rangers 161 70 91
1989 Rangers 162 83 79
1990 Rangers 162 83 79
1991 Rangers 162 85 77
1992 Rangers 86 45 41
1996 Mets 31 12 19
1997 Mets 162 88 74
1998 Mets 162 88 74
1999 Mets 163 97 66
2000 Mets 162 94 68
2001 Mets 162 82 80
2002 Mets 161 75 86
2012 Red Sox 162 69 93
    2,351 1,186 1,165

In his weekly radio appearance with WEEI on Wednesday, Valentine answered "no" when asked if he felt full loyalty from all of his coaches this season.

Asked if he felt undermined at times by some of them, Valentine said, "Yes."

There were three holdovers from former manager Terry Francona's staff -- bench coach Tim Bogar, bullpen coach/catching instructor Gary Tuck and hitting coach Dave Magadan.

In particular, Valentine was rumored to have had problems with Bogar and Tuck.

Valentine was asked to clarify his comments in his pregame news conference.

"Actually I thought I had just a feeling," Valentine said. "I don't have any facts. Just a feeling once in a while we weren't all on the same page."

Cherington admitted he was aware of some rough patches during the course of the season, but he added that Valentine never brought any specific examples of being undermined to his attention.

"He expressed his feeling, and that's just his feeling," Cherington said. "I'm sorry he feels that way. It's hard for me to comment on. I don't know of any example. That's his feeling. I'm not in his office the whole time. I'm not in the clubhouse the whole time. I don't know what exactly he's referring to, but he's got a right to his opinion and he expressed it. If he feels that way, then I feel bad."

Valentine did say that any rift or lack of communication he had with his coaches didn't impact the club's won-loss record, which was 69-93 -- the worst a Red Sox team has fared since 1965.

Did Valentine have regrets from the season?

"I wouldn't have made the [Kevin] Youkilis comment, the 6:30 morning game," Valentine said.

Valentine was referring to comments he made in a television interview the night of April 15, when he said Youkilis didn't appear to be playing with the same passion he had seen before. The Red Sox had an 11 a.m. ET game the next morning -- Patriots Day -- and there was a firestorm in the pregame hours over what he said about Youkilis.

"I didn't expect that reaction," Valentine said.

Valentine expressed one other regret.

"I would have been more prepared for the bullpen situation at the beginning of the season that occurred," Valentine said.

What occurred was that closer Andrew Bailey underwent right thumb surgery the day before the season started and Valentine had to revamp the entire bullpen, installing Alfredo Aceves as the closer.

Valentine insists he doesn't regret taking the job.

"It's a great life experience," Valentine said. "That's what life is. It wasn't always an enjoyable experience, but it's been great. One I'll look back on and I'm sure I've learned from."

Does he feel ownership had his back?

"Oh, absolutely," Valentine said. "Ownership has been incredible. I didn't know very much of any of the three guys, but it seemed like when things got worse, one of them would always be there to say, 'Hang with 'em.'"

Did Valentine feel similar things from Cherington?

"Yeah, totally," said Valentine.

If the Red Sox do wind up making a managerial change, it will mark the second offseason in a row they've done so.

"We've said before -- Bobby's the manager in 2012," Cherington said. "We've got a game tonight, so we'll start those conversations after the season is over, but there's nothing planned."

Was this season the hardest of Valentine's lengthy career?

"Yeah, it was trying," Valentine said. "I don't know how it could be more challenging than this season."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.