On Tuesday night, Valentine sat down for an interview with NBC Sports Network's Bob Costas on Costas Tonight, addressing many of the controversies and incidents that happened over the course of his year with the Red Sox. Most of the conversation, outside of a couple amusing anecdotes, was rather benign, but there's at least one topic that is sure to catch everyone's attention.
When the topic of David Ortiz's Achilles injury came up, Valentine seemed to imply that Ortiz was physically capable of playing baseball after returning for one game on Aug. 24, but he simply chose not to. That was the same day that the blockbuster trade which sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers first became public knowledge, and Valentine said Ortiz didn't want to participate as the Sox effectively abandoned ship.
"David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the
disabled list after we thought it would be just a week," said Valentine. "He got a couple of hits
his first two times up, drove in a couple of runs, we were off to the races,
and then he realized that this trade meant we were not going to run this race
and not even finish this race properly. He decided not to play anymore. I think
at that time it was all downhill from there."
The extent of Ortiz's injury at that point is unclear. As such, whether Ortiz was risking further injury by staying in the lineup — and whether he would have taken that calculated risk if the team was contending — is likewise a mystery.
General manager Ben Cherington was reached almost immediately by Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, and responded to the claim.
"I wouldn't be trying to re-sign him if I had any concern about David's
commitment to baseball or to the Red Sox," said Cherington. "During a
trying year, David was a leader for us on and off the field.
Unfortunately, an Achilles injury cut his season short. It was a tough
break in a season full of tough breaks for us."