Bobby Valentine Says David Ortiz ‘Quit’ on Red Sox

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Bobby Valentine says David Ortiz quit on the Boston Red Sox, and that act helped lead to the Boston Red Sox’ deplorable finish to the season.

In his first interview since being fired at the end of the regular season, former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine took a shot at David Ortiz, one of the few players who publicly supported Valentine.

Appearing on NBC Sports Network’s Costas Tonight, Valentine said Ortiz quit on the team.

“David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list and we thought it was only going to be a week. He got two hits the first two times up, drove in a couple runs; we were off to the races. Then he realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there.

Considering there was a reason the Red Sox made that trade (well, other than they could), it seems like the Red Sox were already going downhill, no matter what Ortiz did or did not do the rest of the season.

Ortiz was on the disabled list from July 18 to late August with a strained right Achilles. He went 2 for 4 with two RBIs in a one-game return Aug. 24. The next day, the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers was made.

The Red Sox were 60-66 on Aug. 24, 13½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 8½ games out of a wild-card spot.

“He realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore,” Valentine said in an interview on “Costas Tonight” on NBC Sports Network. “I think at that time it was all downhill from there.”

Ortiz returned to the disabled list on Aug. 27 and never came off it.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington vehemently denied the former manager’s accusation when reached by ESPNBoston.com for comment Tuesday night.

“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,” Cherington said. “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.”

The Red Sox and Ortiz are closing in on a two-year contract extension that could be finalized in the next week, according to a baseball source.

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