BOSTON (CBS) — There aren’t many Red Sox fans who are in love with the work of Bobby Valentine, but there are even fewer who share the same distaste for the manager as Alfredo Aceves. The Red Sox reliever has had some public issues with Valentine over the course of the season, and he made it clear yet again on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Valentine called on Aceves to get the Sox out of the top of the sixth, a task which Aceves accomplished with just one pitch. Aceves took the hill for the seventh, when he ran into some trouble. The right-hander surrendered a single to Derek Jeter before giving up a home run to Curtis Granderson. Two batters later, he allowed a Nick Swisher double, prompting Valentine to emerge from the dugout to remove his pitcher. That’s when the story really begins.
Rather than handing the ball to the manager, as is custom for a pitcher exiting a game, Aceves gave the ball to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia instead. The catcher passed the ball along to Valentine, who then (for whatever reason) sniffed the baseball as the trio stood on the mound without much discussion, waiting for Chris Carpenter to emerge from the bullpen.
Once it was time for Aceves to go, he stepped back off the side of the mound and ran behind it, around the group of infielders, on his way back to the dugout. He chose that route rather than going directly past the skipper, which would have made a whole lot more sense.
In the grand scheme of the world, it wasn’t the biggest deal, yet it was clear Aceves wanted nothing to do with Valentine. After the game though, the manager said he’s not too worried about that.
“Who cares if he showed me up?” Valentine said after the 5-4 loss to the Yankees. “If I have to explain Aceves’ actions, I’ll wind up going across the river and work for Harvard.”
Anyone who’s paid attention to this year’s Red Sox team knows this is nothing new from Aceves. Just last week, he got into a somewhat heated argument with Dustin Pedroia regarding pickoff plays at second base, after which Valentine offered a pat on the butt to Aceves which was not received well at all. That incident came a week after Aceves was suspended by the team for reportedly screaming at Valentine for not using him to close, as he instead opted to use Andrew Bailey, the man who was brought to the team to be the closer. Aceves then had to take a commercial flight to the West Coast to join his team.
Upon arrival in California, Aceves was then used quite a bit by Valentine. Aceves was used four times in five days, throwing 143 pitches in his 7 2/3 innings.
The Aceves-Valentine feud actually started before the season began, when he expressed his frustration with being assigned to the bullpen after pitching well as a starter in spring training. One of those rotation spots ultimately went to Daniel Bard, which clearly didn’t work out for the team, while Aceves instead assumed the closer’s role when Bailey suffered a thumb injury.
It’s hard to predict what the next Valentine-Aceves run-in will be, but it seems safe to assume the feud isn’t close to being over.