Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, hours before the rubber game of a three-game series in Baltimore, and talked about his lineup adjustments. The Sox started Adrian Gonzalez in right field and the returning Kevin Youkilis at first base Tuesday night, and Valentine said he plans to return to that lineup Wednesday -- with newcomer Scott Podsednik again in center -- once he checks with Gonzalez and "makes sure his legs are underneath him."
However, the manager acknowledged this isn't a lineup he plans to feature regularly.
"I don't think it's an everyday thing," he said. "I think it's something that could be used throughout the year, but no, I don't think it's an everyday solution."
General manager Ben Cherington said recently that Youkilis will return as the starting third baseman, despite rookie Will Middlebrooks' impressive play while Youkilis was on the DL.
"I totally am on board with Ben's take, and Kevin's going to play third base," Valentine said. "This is a situation that arose out of necessity, not out of choice. We're lucky to have a guy as versatile as Kevin, who can play on both sides of the infield, and a guy as willing and as versatile as Adrian, who would move from first to right field to allow us to line those guys up for a while."
Valentine said Middlebrooks probably will spend some time on the bench, but he didn't commit to keeping the rookie on the major league roster.
"I don't know. We'll see how the usage is being executed," he said. "I think we just have a situation where we have to play this by ear. This isn't something that was planned out over the winter or even was planned out last week or two weeks ago when Will first came up and Kevin first went on the disabled list. This is a work in progress. We'll adjust to it as the situation presents itself."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On speculation that Youkilis will be traded: "We just got Kevin back and we're really excited about him being back. Obviously, he added our only run last night. He's making up for a lot of deficiencies that have presented themselves at other positions. Trading him -- I don't see that."
On Gonzalez volunteering to play outfield: "The relationship I've had with Adrian from the first day of spring training has been one where he communicates his thoughts freely, and he has thoughts every day on what could be the best thing and the best solution for our team. When this situation presented itself, it was eye contact was all that was needed. He came walking in and he said, 'If you're thinking about me in right field, go for it. I'll come out tomorrow and take fly balls.' He came out the next day and took some fly balls, we were ready to go. And that was just with interleague play. When Cody [Ross] got hurt, he came in after the game and said the same thing. … In Adrian's case, it's simple to understand him. He just wants to do what's best for the team."
On the recent team meeting that appears to have sparked a turnaround: "Oh, I just think that sometimes things have to be said, and confusion has to be removed from the room, and it seems like that was the case."
On team leadership: "Leadership comes in lots of different shapes and forms. This group that I've been with now, doing battle for six weeks, has presented a group of leaders, guys who understand what needs to be done and what needs to be said. I couldn't be more impressed with the quality of players that we have in uniform."
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