On Friday, manager Bobby Valentine claimed the Boston Red Sox have "the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball."
On Sunday, he clarified that comment.
"That wasn't meant to be a criticism of any players or anything in the organization," Valentine said before the Red Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-0, to regain sole possession of last place. "It was just a statement of fact because of the injuries and our Triple-A team in the playoffs. We have less people than most September rosters. We have less positions filled than any September roster I've ever seen. If you thought that to be anything other than a statement of what it was, stand corrected on that."
According to the Boston Herald, several people at various levels within the organization were irritated by Valentine's comment, the latest in a series of eyebrow-raising statements made by the embattled manager.
The Red Sox have 32 players on their active roster: 17 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders and five outfielders, although Ryan Kalish has required consistent rest due to recurring soreness in his neck and surgically repaired shoulder.
In particular, Valentine cited the lack of outfield depth along with the fact that the Sox don't have a purely left-handed pinch hitter (Daniel Nava is a switch hitter) or a fleet pinch runner.
"Usually a September roster has some starting pitchers who are waiting in the wings. Ours doesn't," Valentine reiterated Sunday. "Usually a September roster has left-handed, pinch-hitter types or pinch runners or five or six outfielders. We have four outfielders. That's not like a September roster."
Valentine is under contract for one more season. Although ownership repeatedly has guaranteed that he will keep his job through the final 15 games, neither principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino nor general manager Ben Cherington have been willing to extend their votes of confidence beyond the end of the season.