Bobby Valentine #25 of the Boston Red Sox heads back to the dugout after he called in a relief pitcher in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on September 9, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(September 8, 2012 – Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)
Valentine was asked before Friday night’s game in Toronto what part of his last-place club would benefit most from some extra call-ups.
“Are you kidding?” Valentine said. “This is the weakest roster we’ve ever had in September in the history of baseball. It could use help everywhere.”
Winding down a forgettable season, the Red Sox began the day with a record of 64-80, 17½ games behind Baltimore and New York in the AL East. Boston, 11-29 since Aug. 1, would be eliminated from the division race with a loss Friday and a win by either the Yankees or Orioles.
The Red Sox have lost 18 of 23 overall. Among AL teams, only Cleveland and Minnesota have worse records.
Boston’s roster has been thinned by trades and injuries. Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto were dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers last month, along with injured outfielder Carl Crawford. Veteran Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox earlier this season.
Slugger David Ortiz and rookie Will Middlebrooks are two of the five Red Sox currently on the disabled list, a list that also includes long-term absentee John Lackey. 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia is away following the birth of his second son but is expected to rejoin the Red Sox in Toronto sometime this weekend.
For now, Boston has only five outfielders on its roster and, with Pedroia gone, just five infielders.
“We have a couple of options,” Valentine said. “Not a lot of them.”
Valentine said the Red Sox might add “one or two players” from Class AAA Pawtucket in the coming days. Pawtucket completed a three-game sweep to win its first International League championship since 1984 on Thursday and will have a one-game playoff against the Pacific Coast League winners, either Reno or Omaha, next Tuesday.
“If there are people who could be brought up, we should bring them up,” Valentine said. “But I don’t know that there’s a lot of guys left.”