Red Sox's Valentine tries to explain his 'weakest roster' remark


TORONTO (AP) — Bobby Valentine insisted he wasn't trying to be critical when he said his struggling Red Sox had “the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball.”

Two days after his latest inflammatory remark, Valentine tried to explain himself before Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays, offering an unsolicited clarification at the end of his morning media session.

“The other day when I made a comment about our September roster, that wasn't meant to be a criticism of any players or anything in the organization,” Valentine said. “It's a statement of fact because of the injuries and our Triple-A team in the playoffs. This is different. We have less people than most September rosters. We have less positions filled than any September roster I've ever seen before.”

On Friday, Valentine was asked what part of his team would benefit most from some extra call-ups.

“Are you kidding?” he responded. “This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball. It could use help everywhere.”

On Sunday, however, Valentine said, “Usually a September roster has some starting pitchers who are waiting in the wings,” Valentine said. “Ours doesn't. Usually a September roster has some left-handed pinch hitter type guys, or pinch runners, five or six outfielders. We have four outfielders. It's not like a September roster.”

Thanks to victories Friday and Saturday, the Red Sox have moved out of last place in the AL East, percentage points ahead of Toronto.

Boston's roster has been thinned by trades and injuries. Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto were dealt to the Dodgers last month, along with injured outfielder Carl Crawford, while veteran Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox earlier.

Slugger David Ortiz and rookie Will Middlebrooks are two of the five Red Sox currently on the disabled list, a list that also includes long-term absentee John Lackey.


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