Takeaways from Fort: Belichick talks to Sox

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
12:15
AM ET


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine left tickets for a notable guest Tuesday night: Bill Belichick, a longtime baseball fan who often visited good friend Tony La Russa in Jupiter when La Russa managed the Cardinals and visited Terry Francona several times in the Fort.

Valentine said Belichick texted him and said he was in Tampa on Tuesday and wanted to come to Tuesday night's game. Valentine said he suggested that Belichick, whom he has known from the time he was Mets manager and Belichick was with the Jets, come early. Belichick hit some traffic, he said, but arrived in time to talk to the Sox in the clubhouse before Tuesday night's game.

Did Belichick address the club in a motivational vein?

"In a Bill Belichick vein,'' Valentine said. "I think he used a little reference to when things don’t go right, you can turn the page. New years are new years, make the best of them that you can make.

"He follows our team. It's not like he just dropped out of Mars to say, 'Hey how you doing?' He kind of gets it.''

Asked if he knows as much football as Belichick does baseball, Valentine, an all-state running back in high school, said: "I don’t think so. I've been to his practices in the past.''

Asked if Belichick had any suggestions about the back end of his rotation, Valentine cracked: "We’re going to talk about that tomorrow.''

Belichick, wearing a white visor, sat in the front row behind the screen and stayed for six innings.

"When I was in New York, Bobby was in New York with the Mets," Belichick told ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss at the time Valentine was hired by the Sox. "Love Bobby. Great guy. Great baseball guy. Love to talk to him. He's got a lot of energy.

"Don't get me wrong, I love Terry [Francona]. I had a great relationship with Bobby in New York. I went to several Mets games and stuff like that, watched Keyshawn [Johnson] throw out the opening pitch and all that. Bobby is a wonderful guy. I look forward to catching up with him and seeing him here."

* Left-hander Andrew Miller, who already was kept out of spring games for 11 days after developing a little stiffness in his elbow, lasted just three pitches before leaving with what Valentine said was a mild hamstring strain in his left leg. He'll be evaluated again in the morning. The injury happened, Valentine said, on the first pitch Miller threw. He was working with a new no-windup delivery.

* Vicente Padilla also has a mild hamstring strain he sustained while in the weight room, Valentine said. More will be known about his condition Wednesday.

* Ryan Sweeney, in his first game action since March 11 (strained quad), went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Mike Aviles had two of Boston's five hits, including a double.

* Jon Lester is scheduled to start Wednesday in Bradenton against the Pirates. Left-handed reliever Franklin Morales (shoulder weakness) is scheduled to make his first spring appearance.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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