WEEI » This Just In
03/22/2012 - 3:28am
Valentine: 'I've never criticized a player'

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine refuted the notion that he had been publicly critical of some of his players this spring. While Valentine has provided a number of frank assessments this spring, as when he commented on the command difficulties of Daniel Bard and the swing of Ryan Sweeney or joked about a recent poor outing by reliever Mark Melancon, the manager said that candor is not to be confused with criticism.

“In the 3,000 games I’ve had pre-  or post-game meetings in, in two languages, I’ve never criticized a player. And I don’t intend to,” Valentine said on Wednesday. "A statement of fact should never be misconstrued as criticism. I don’t think it is, or should be. I don’t have time to deal with intelligence or morality. I can’t deal with those. If ignorant people misinterpret simple statements, it’s not my fault. If factual statements are misconstrued as criticism...

03/21/2012 - 9:02pm
Broncos, Jets finalize Tebow trade

UPDATE: After a day of back and forth, it appears that the Jets have acquired Tim Tebow from the Broncos for a fourth and sixth round draft choice. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Broncos will also send a seventh round selection to the Jets. Tebow became available when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year deal Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, the Jets signed Mark Sanchez to a three-year extension, leading to speculation Tebow will be used in a specialist's role, likely running the wildcat offense.

The move apparently doesn't sit well with Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who on Tuesday tweeted: We don't need Tebow. We sell out every home game let him go to Jacksonville Tampa or Miami. Our wildcat offense can b ran by J. Kerley or Joe McKnight we straight.

Tebow played in 14 games in 2011, completing 46.5 percent of his passes for 1,729 yards and 17 touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 72.9. He also rushed 122 times for...

03/21/2012 - 6:20pm
Source: Bard's role still undetermined

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- According to a team source, Daniel Bard will make his next scheduled start (Sun.), and his role to start the season -- as either a starter or reliever -- has yet to be determined.

The information confirms Red Sox' manager Bobby Valentine's assertion following Bard's five-inning outing (3 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 83 pitches) that the righty would be making what would be his sixth appearance of the spring. Thus far this spring (including his first appearance, in a 'B' game against Minnesota), Bard has allowed 11 runs over 13 2/3 innings, with seven of the runs coming in a March 15 outing against St. Louis.

Earlier Wednesday, a report said one Red Sox staff member has told others outside the organization that, "when all is said and done," Bard would be back in the bullpen and...

03/21/2012 - 4:57pm
Melancon: Valentine 'taken out of context'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mark Melancon told Wednesday that he wasn't upset with recent post-game comments made by Bobby Valentine, and clarified why the manager may have made them.

Following the reliever's one-inning, three-run stint Monday, Valentine said when asked about Melancon's performance, "Melancon, I thought he backed up the bases pretty well. He had that down." The manager then went on to critique specific examples of what might led to the pitcher's rough outing.

"As I came off the field I said, 'Hey Skip, I got my running in today. I backed up every base about three times.' He got that from me. I didn't take any offense to that," Melancon said. "To be quite honest, I'm harder on myself than anybody else here. 

"Even if something was ever said poorly about me, I'm not really worried about that. I'm worried about what I do on the field. Hopefully all they can say is good things. But that...

03/21/2012 - 4:30pm
Lester feels good despite rough outing

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Red Sox starter Jon Lester, who had been scheduled to pitch at least five innings on Wednesday, instead lasted just three innings while requiring 80 pitches in an eventual 6-5 Sox loss to the Pirates. Lester allowed four runs (all in his third and final inning) on eight hits while walking two and striking out one.

Despite the fact it was a spring training contest, Lester said that he was disappointed by his poor results.

"I’m a competitor. I want to win. I don’t care if it’s on the back field in Minnesota or in Fenway or wherever. I always want to do well and get the results that I feel I’ve been working for," said Lester. "This is not something I take lightly, even if it’s in spring training."

That said, Lester also said he felt good about his mechanics. While he did end up leaving some fastballs up, he felt that his ability to repeat his delivery was solid, thus...

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