BOSTON — Red Sox owner John Henry says no one at a meeting with players last month called for manager Bobby Valentine to be replaced.
Henry sent an email yesterday, one day after Yahoo! Sports reported that several players met with Henry and team president Larry Lucchino on July 27 in New York to complain about the manager’s handling of the team.
Owner Tom Werner also was at the meeting, according to Henry, who said that no one who attended took the position that Valentine should be or needed to be replaced. The Red Sox are a disappointing 57-60 in Valentine’s first season.
Henry said the overriding sentiment expressed by the players was that they felt responsible for their record.
“No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced,” Henry said in a statement.
The Yahoo! Sports story set off a firestorm around the Red Sox on Tuesday, with general manager Ben Cherington first confirming the meeting but declining to discuss specifics of what went on.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after the Red Sox lost in Baltimore Tuesday night to sink to 57-60, said players accept responsibility for the team’s dismal season.
“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” he said. “Listen, we haven’t played well. That’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby. I don’t think anybody else is. It’s on the players.”
Henry, who expressed disappointment that word of ownership’s meeting with players became public, said the purpose of the meeting was to exchange ideas about how the team can turn around its performance.
“What Tom, Larry and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record,” Henry said. “They weren’t blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points.”
Henry last week gave Valentine his backing and said he would not change managers. Valentine was hired last winter to replace Terry Francona.
Yesterday, Henry reiterated that support.
“What is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver.”