To say Alfredo Aceves hasn’t displayed the soundest judgment during his short tenure with the Boston Red Sox would be an understatement.
In fact, during August of last season, Aceves found himself suspended for three games after verbally (and loudly) challenging manager Bobby Valentine’s decision to use Andrew Bailey — whom the club acquired to be their closer, mind you — in a save situation shortly after his return from the disabled list.
Granted, not many Red Sox agreed with the way Valentine handled just about every situation during his one year stint with the club. That would include the closer switch-a-roo, as it was admitted that Bobby V. failed to communicate that the next save opportunity would go to Bailey. Aceves was probably owed that much considering he’d filled in admirably throughout most of the season. But there were certainly better ways for Aceves to handle his frustrations than making a scene in the manager’s office.
Given how that situation played out, you would think Aceves would have learned something and might even be determined to get off on the right foot with new manager John Farrell. Of course you'd also be wrong, because he ended up doing the exact opposite during his first live batting practice session on Sunday. Rather than simulating game situations as the drill was designed to do, Aceves began lobbing softballs to the plate, which understandably drew the ire of Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves.
After an animated discussion with Nieves took place at the pitching mound, Aceves took the drill a little more seriously but still mixed in a few softballs. That didn’t go over well at all, but apparently he got the message loud and clear prior to Wednesday's session because according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford that one went much smoother:
Wednesday’s BP went off without a hitch, with Aceves showing sharp stuff while pitching to Juan Carlos Linares, Pedro Ciriaco and Daniel Nava. After the exercise, the pitcher explained his thoughts on what had transpired a few days before.
“It was just miscommunication. That’s all it was,” he said. “I apologized for that and now we’re on track.”
Aceves exhibited praise for new Red Sox manager John Farrell, who appeared to have a stern talk with the pitcher following his first crack at BP.
“He’s the kind of guy who is tough and you receive that toughness,” Aceves said. “I think it’s good for us.”
The miscommunication excuse may have worked with Valentine, but it certainly doesn't fly here. Especially when the pitching coach interrupts the drill to explain its purpose to you directly. To only go half speed from that point on sounds more like a player trying to push buttons to see how much he can get away with.
Assuming that's the case (which I clearly am), you have to not only question the players' mindset, but also just much the Red Sox will be willing to tolerate going forward.
[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]
As Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk points out, Boston could decide to outright release Aceves by March 13 and only have to pay one-sixth of the one-year, $2.65 million deal he agreed to this winter. There's no indication Boston plans to release him or even dangle him in trade talks (who would want that headache?), but that could all change if Aceves doesn't get his act over the next three weeks.
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