A throng crowded the Blue Jays dugout, waiting for Toronto manager John Farrell.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, in a pregame interview with NESN host Tom Caron, suggested that the criticism directed at him has "always been personal" and driven by "agendas," not just during his time in Boston but throughout his managerial career and life.

Toronto manager (and former Red Sox pitching coach) John Farrell, whom the Red Sox wanted to hire after parting ways with Terry Francona last offseason -- even pursuing him after the Blue Jays changed their team policy to prevent lateral moves -- tried to downplay speculation that the Red Sox will make a run at hiring him this offseason to replace manager Bobby Valentine. 

Injured Sox starter John Lackey will throw live batting practice on Saturday in the next step as he attempts to comeback from Tommy John surgery. Lackey said that he will probably throw BP two or three times before a live-game setting is discussed, possibly in the Instructional League. 

"He's close," manager Bobby Valentine said of Lackey's proximity to game activity, suggesting that Lackey might be ready to throw an inning or two in games within a couple of weeks.

Coming off a 1-8 road trip, the Sox return home to Fenway for a series with the Blue Jays. Manager Bobby Valentine will turn to what has become his everyday lineup, but with Ryan Kalish getting some at-bats as the designated hitter. 


MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar checked in with Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the latest Red Sox drama with manager Bobby Valentine.

Valentine had a confrontational interview on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon. Host Glenn Ordway opened the interview by asking if Valentine had checked out, and Valentine responded by saying he would have punched Ordway in the mouth if the two were in the same room, although Valentine then said, "Ha, ha."

 "What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How's that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing."

-- Bobby Valentine, talking to Glenn Ordway Thursday on The Big Show



Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci joined The Big Show on Thursday, discussing his recent piece on Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox and giving his thoughts on how things may end between the team and the manager. 

The Red Sox have said they won't fire Valentine during the season, but Verducci noted that whenever the manager is fired, he won't go quietly.

Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling was a guest of the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning. Schilling was first asked about the contentious interview with Bobby Valentine during the manager's weekly appearance on The Big Show Wednesday. Valentine was upset after being asked if he had "checked out" for the rest of the season and questioned the integrity of reporters who wrote that he was late to Oakland Coliseum last Saturday.

“This day, it’s a special day. It’s more than a special day. It’s the beginning of a life that I think is going to extend beyond anything that I ever thought of doing. The talent, the players, the talent level, the players that we have in this organization I think is a gift to anyone. I’m a receiver of that gift.