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TON -- Red Sox owner John W. Henry and general manager Ben Cherington voiced their support for manager Bobby Valentine on Monday, the same day that the Boston Herald published a column taking the stance that the team should make a managerial change.
Though the Red Sox entered Monday night's game with a disappointing 54-55 record and trailed by 4 1/2 games for the second spot in the American League Wild Card standings, upper management said that Valentine is not the scapegoat.
"Bobby's our manager, and we're not looking at anyone else," Cherington said in the dugout before Monday's game. "He's as committed to managing the team as he ever has been, and we're committed to him and trying to do everything we can to support him and make this work."
Henry also said he backs Valentine, and the ballclub is not making a managerial change.
"To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong," Henry wrote in an e-mail to reporters. "A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.
"In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, 'This isn't working so the manager needs to go.' But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager."
By the time the Red Sox had completed a 9-2 drubbing of the Rangers to get back to .500, Valentine said he appreciated the vote of confidence from his bosses.
"I regret that they had to do it," said Valentine. "If our record was better, they wouldn't have had to do it. Totally appreciated, though, if they felt it was necessary and they think it's good for the guys."
Valentine said he was not surprised to hear that his job security is a hot topic amongst fans and the media. He dealt with similar rumors while managing the Mets from 1996-2002.
"I try not to be surprised. It comes with the territory," Valentine said. "I just come to work and try to do the best that I can do. I can't control [the] thought process, that's for sure."
Does Valentine feel he is managing to save his job?
"I have no idea, I manage for my job every day, I think," he said. "I try to give my best every day that I come out."
When Henry was asked by media members if Valentine was empowered enough to properly run the team, he told reporters to ask the manager.
"The ownership is fabulous," Valentine said. "It's a very expensive payroll. Ben has worked 24/7. He's been in my office every day. There's never been anything that we've had any major disagreements with. I don't know how I could be more empowered. Maybe a magic wand at times. I'll use that during the game if I ever find out where I could get one."
Perhaps Monday's contest was a sign that the team is on the verge of at last living up to expectations, something that would take the heat off Valentine.
"Yeah, he deserves [the vote of confidence]," said Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "It's one of those things. He hasn't swung the bat all year. He hasn't pitched. It's us that are playing out there. The .500 record we're at right now, it's on us. It's not on Bobby. Everybody wants to make a big deal out of that, but it's never been on Bobby. It's always been on us."
Following Saturday night's 6-4 loss to Minnesota, Henry met with Valentine in the manager's office.
"He wanted to come in and say it was a tough loss, which it was," Valentine said, though he would not divulge the rest of their conversation. "It's not polite to say it's none of your business, so I will try to be polite and not say that."
With the second-highest payroll in the Major Leagues, the Red Sox have underperformed this season, and they know that. But Cherington stressed the blame does not fall solely on Valentine.
"We've got to perform better as a team, and there are a lot of people here responsible for our performance -- I am, the front office is, Bobby is, the coaching staff, the players," Cherington said. "Collectively, we're not performing the way we expect to, and that's on us collectively to figure it out.
"I've said this before, winning and losing always has more to do with players than anything else. I don't question the effort of the players. I think our players have fought and battled, worked hard, played hard, fought out of tough things. It's not a question of effort.
"At some level, the players on the team, it's a reflection of me, it's a reflection of the front office. So, if players win or lose more than anything else, then I need to be accountable for that. We need to be better day to day and put ourselves in the best position to win, and we'll continue to work on those things behind closed doors. We expect what follows to improve. It needs to."