Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz –– who has been sidelined since July 17 with an Achilles injury –– stepped up for the embattled skipper in New York and voiced his respect despite the outside criticism.
"I think Bobby's doing great, man," Ortiz said. "He had to deal with so many things through the season, a lot of guys' injuries. I guarantee if we don't have that many guys go onto the DL this year, history would be different this year, and all the talks and negativity that have come out against him, I don't think it would be there."
The criticism is taking its toll on Dustin Pedroia. Since denying that he orchestrated a meeting to fire Valentine on July 26, the Red Sox second baseman has stopped speaking with reporters.
From Ortiz' vantage point, the reports surrounding the team had a twofold effect on Pedroia. While it's added extra stress, the 29-year-old has been sizzling at the plate and is enjoying a 12-game hitting streak.
"It affects the players," Ortiz said. "The other day, Pedroia was playing baseball out there pissed off and not focused on what he wants to do because that report came out saying he was against the manager.
"How do you think he's going to feel out there? That kid, he wants to do nothing but play baseball no matter who his manager is, no matter who's the umpire, who's the fan — he don't care. He wants to go out there and beat the crap out of whoever he's playing against that day."
To help the Red Sox silence the noise, Pedroia will have to keep unleashing his frustrations on opponents.