There will be no drinking in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse this season.
The team will ban alcohol in the clubhouse and on the last plane flight of road trips, new manager Bobby Valentine announced Saturday.
The move comes in the wake of last season’s September collapse in the American League East, a tailspin that included reports of Boston starting pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse on their off-days rather than supporting their teammates in the dugout.
Valentine laid out the new rules with team ownership by his side in a meeting Saturday morning in Fort Myers, Fla., before Boston’s first full-squad workout of the spring.
“It’s just what I’ve always done, except for when I was in Texas, I guess,” Valentine said when asked why he banned booze. “I’m comfortable with it that way.”
When asked how the players reacted to the news, Valentine said, “You mean like standing ovation or booing? I didn’t get either of those.”
Veteran David Ortiz didn’t bat an eye. “We’re not here to drink. We’re here to play baseball,” he said. “This ain’t no bar. If you want to drink, drink at home.”
Manny Ramirez ‘finds God’
Former Indians slugger Manny Ramirez, who faces a 50-game drug suspension if he makes the Oakland Athletics’ roster, said he found God in the offseason and that he is eager to show his kids and his teammates that he has changed.
Ramirez, 39, a 12-time All-Star whose 555 home runs rank 14th on the Major League Baseball career list, agreed to a minor-league contract with the A’s last week and reported to spring training in Phoenix.
Ramirez retired from baseball last season while with the Tampa Bay Rays rather than face a second unspecified violation tied to the sport’s anti-doping rules. He also was suspended 50 games in May 2009 while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Sometimes when you don’t got God in your heart, you do stupid things,” he told reporters. “When you have a problem, you can get up and fix it.”
Cliff Lee warms up
Former Indians pitcher Cliff Lee will work in a side bullpen session today when Philadelphia’s pitchers throw to hitters for the first time in camp in Clearwater, Fla.
Lee, 33, who signed a five-year, $120 million contract to join the Phillies two winters ago, is nursing a minor abdominal injury. He’s expected to step back into line with the rest of the star-studded pitching staff in the coming week.
Lee shrugged off his current pain as “just a precautionary deal.”
“It’s similar to the ab strains I’ve had in the past,” Lee said. “Basically the early stages of that in the past I tried to power through it. I’m trying to be smarter with it now and keep it a small issue.”
Around the league
Joel Zumaya’s comeback bid with the Minnesota Twins took a worrisome turn in Fort Myers, Fla., when the reliever ended a throwing session early because of discomfort in his right elbow. ... Oakland Athletics infielder Scott Sizemore was helped off the field in Phoenix after apparently injuring his left knee during fielding drills. ... Injured Phillies star Ryan Howard is leaving Philadelphia’s spring training camp in Clearwater, Fla, for a few days to visit the Baltimore doctor who did the surgery on his torn left Achilles’ tendon.