Boston, MA – Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said the team held meetings last month in New York to discuss the difficult season in general, but that the reported grumbling from players about manager Bobby Valentine was never an issue.
According to a report from Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, a group of Red Sox players met with ownership on July 26 and were upset after Valentine left Jon Lester continue pitching in a game in which he eventually allowed 11 runs.
Henry, responding to the story and other media reports of a potential player mutiny, sent a statement to Boston media, including the Boston Globe, indicating that meetings were held in an effort to find out what it would take to turn things around.
"We held three meetings in New York -- separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong," Henry said in the statement published by the Globe.
"Players felt responsible for the record. 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. No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced."
The Red Sox entered Wednesday's action with a disappointing record of 57-60.
"I understand that when the team isn't playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized," Henry's statement concluded. "But 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."
Valentine has been under fire in his first season as skipper, particularly since his unflattering remarks about former third baseman Kevin Youkilis. The manager said Youkilis didn't appear to be playing with the same passion early in the season, comments that drew the ire of many Red Sox players, including Youkilis himself and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia was also vocal on Tuesday after Boston's 7-1 loss to Baltimore. He confirmed that the team held meetings, but said a managerial change was never considered.
"I don't think Bobby should be fired," Pedroia said Tuesday. "We haven't played well. That's the bottom line. I'm not going to blame anything on Bobby. It's on the players."
Youkilis was eventually traded to the Chicago White Sox in late June.