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Red Sox owner voices support for manager Valentine

Winslow Townson | AP
Winslow Townson | AP
Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine looks on during batting practice before their baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park in Boston, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012.
The Associated Press

BOSTON — Red Sox owner John Henry is backing Bobby Valentine in his first season as manager while Boston hovers around the .500 mark.

Henry said on Monday that management is not making a managerial change, and he cited numerous injuries as one reason for the team’s struggles.

In an email to reporters, Henry said that it is “simply wrong” to blame Valentine for the team’s troubles, and “we all” share responsibility. He also said there has been no lack of effort by players.

The Red Sox have spent most of the season in last place in the AL East and have never been in first or second. A total of 23 players have spent 27 stints on the disabled list, both the highest on the team since 1971. Boston’s 23 players on the disabled list are the most in baseball this year. San Diego and Washington are tied for second with 19.

“A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year,” Henry wrote. “The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.”

First-year general manager Ben Cherington also voiced support for Valentine.

“Bobby’s our manager, and we’re not looking at anyone else,” Cherington said in the Boston dugout before Monday night’s game against the Texas Rangers. “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.”

The Red Sox began the day with a 54-55 record, 4 1-2 games behind for the second AL wild card.

Henry and Valentine met in the manager’s office after Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

“He wanted to come in and say it was a tough loss, which it was,” Valentine said Monday, giving no other details of the meeting.

Talk about a manager’s job security “comes with the territory,” Valentine said. “I just come to work and try to do the best that I can do.”

In his email, Henry said “We have been nothing but supportive of (Valentine) inside and outside of the clubhouse. Stories that imply otherwise are due to speculation that is not warranted at all by the facts.”

He also said managers often are given too much credit and blame for a team’s performance.

“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,” Henry said. “We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.”

Cherington echoed that, saying more than just the manager is responsible for the mediocre season.

“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.”

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