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Bobby Valentine notes: Andrew Miller has ‘a little’ elbow stiffness; Andrew Bailey ready to go

03.07.12 at 1:08 pm ET
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DUNEDIN, Fla. — Before his Red Sox took on the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon, Bobby Valentine met with the media to pass on a few nuggets.

Probably the most noteworthy item came in the form of news that Andrew Miller would not be accompanying the team to Jupiter Thursday, as was scheduled, after reporting ” a little stiffness” in the back of his left elbow Wednesday morning after throwing an extended side session Tuesday.

“The operative word here is, “little” and “stiffness” from what I heard, Valentine said.

In other news …

Andrew Bailey, who was recovering from a sore lat muscle, appears ready to pitch in a game after coming through his bullpen session Tuesday with flying colors.

“Bailey is ready,” Valentine said. “He threw the bullpen. The next time might be to a hitter, but it might be batting practice. We’€™re going to see how he feels. He might want to jump right into a game. He’€™s pain-free and feels like he’€™s throwing the ball fine.”

– Valentine said he has been impressed with shortstop Mike Aviles‘ defense thus far. Aviles is in the starting lineup against the Jays, hitting leadoff.

“We haven’€™t seen him very much, but it’€™s been very good what we’€™ve seen,” Valentine said. “Going to his left yesterday seemed like a really easy play for him. The ball was close to being up the middle and he made the play. He’€™s made two throws going to his right, not deep, but he moved to his right. He made the good play on the rebound off the wall.

“His workouts have looked good. Not as smooth as maybe Jose, but it looks like he makes the plays in practice.”

– Valentine said he has no preference when it comes to where Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney play.

“Nope,” said Valentine when asked if either one played right or left field better. “I think they both can play all three positions equally well. The play Cody made was not an easy play. Terrific read and jump. I think Sweeney might throw a little better, but Cody throws OK.”

The manager also noted how well Ross has fit into the Sox’ clubhouse.

“Raw power. The fact that he’€™s played in the postseason. His age. His ability to transition to our environment,” said Valentine when asked what he liked about his new outfielder. “I really like what I’€™ve seen so far, obviously. … His social skills are very mature and easy to adapt.”

– Valentine wouldn’t commit to how he viewed the Red Sox’ defense.

“I’€™m going to let the jury stay out a little longer on that before I make a blanket statement,” he said. “They’€™ve worked really hard. I haven’€™t seen them work together all that much.”

Asked about the importance of defensive metrics, Valentine said, “They do a good job telling me what happened. I don’€™t know what’€™s going to happen because of positioning, etc. Knowing the staff and all that stuff.”

– Valentine did say that Wednesday’s Sox starter, Justin Germano, was in the running for the fifth starter job.

“He was very excited about getting the opportunity,” said Valentine of Germano, who got the nod after Carlos Silva was scratched. “I think he learned pitching on the other side of the pond. The plate has two sides and hitters perform better on one side than the other. He understands matching up his strength and weaknesses.”

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