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BOSTON (CBS) — The soap opera that is the 2012 Boston Red Sox season has a brand new chapter.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, Red Sox players met with team owner John Henry and president/CEO Larry Lucchino in late July to complain about manager Bobby Valentine.
According to the report, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez texted ownership to complain that Valentine “embarrassed” Jon Lester by leaving him in too long in a game in which he was struggling badly. The outing by Lester that reportedly spurred the meeting came on July 22, when the lefty allowed 11 earned runs (including four home runs) over four innings.
“Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine, the sources said,” Passan reported. “The tenor of the 2 p.m. meeting at The Palace hotel in New York turned ugly almost immediately, according to the sources.”
General manager Ben Cherington confirmed with Yahoo! that the meeting took place.
“The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season,” Cherington told Passan. “That was the intent of the meeting. That was the focus of ownership. It was a productive meeting. Since then, we have not gone on the run we were supposed to.”
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported via Twitter that 17 players attended the meeting.
The report also says Red Sox players have shared a picture message that shows Dustin Pedroia sticking out his tongue and holding up his thumbs while standing in front of Valentine, who is asleep on a table. The text read: ”Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.”
Valentine signed a two-year contract with the Red Sox over the winter, replacing the much-loved Terry Francona as the Sox skipper. Potential issues between Valentine and players were raised as early as Valentine’s introductory press conference, when he was asked about criticisms he made as an ESPN analyst about Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. They resurfaced again in April, when Valentine questioned the effort and motivation of Kevin Youkilis, one of the longest-tenured members of the team. Pedroia spoke out against that criticism, saying at the time, “That’s not the way we go about our stuff around here.”
Last week, with several media outlets speculating Valentine’s job may be in jeopardy, Henry released a statement supporting the manager.
“We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager,” Henry said. “We have been nothing but supportive of him inside and outside of the clubhouse. Stories that imply otherwise are due to speculation that is not warranted at all by the facts.”