A year ago, the Red Sox manager –– then an ESPN analyst –– went out to dinner with Twins shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a former pupil from his coaching days with the Chiba Lotte Marines, in Fort Myers.
During the rendezvous, Valentine warned the rookie about base running differences between the Japanese league and Major League Baseball
"[I tried] to tell him they were going to try and break his leg and show him how to try and get out of the way, because he didn't do that in Japan when he played second base for me his first year," Valentine said. "I actually got up and showed him where he had to be on that double play because in Japan you don't have to worry about the inside side slide, only the outside slide."
"A guy comes inside and rolls he had to be out of the roll and [Nishioka] gave me the old –– as he did as a player for me –– 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand. I understand. I understand.'"
He apparently didn’t heed the message. A week into Nishioka's pro career in 2011, he suffered a broken leg when Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher slid into second in an attempt to break up a double play.
Now healthy, Nishioka reunited with Valentine in Sunday’s Grapefruit League opener at JetBlue. The Red Sox manager said the shortstop as the inconsistent one of the bunch in Japan.
"I had him where he was one of the worst players on the field and had him when he was one of the best players on the field," Valentine said. "And sometimes it was in the same season."
But the lesson from all this? If Bobby Valentine makes a prediction about the future, you may want to listen.