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Buster Olney on M&M: Bobby Valentine is ‘big-picture’ guy, will let Dustin Pedroia rest

05.30.12 at 1:53 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Appearing on Mutt & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon, ESPN baseball analysts Buster Olney discussed strategies the Red Sox can implement for the injured Dustin Pedroia. He said the Red Sox have the leisure to let Pedroia rest until he is completely healthy, and manager Bobby Valentine‘s big-picture style emphasizes letting Pedroia heal.

Pedroia’s torn adductor muscle in his thumb is expected to keep him out 3-4 weeks if he cannot hit with a device protecting the thumb.

“I’ve got to believe that the fact that the Red Sox have now pulled themselves back in at 3 1/2 games [means] there’s no sense of urgency, the whole division is banged up, there are issues with every single team and this thing is going to play out down the stretch,” Olney said. “They’re going to want to do everything they can to get Dustin Pedroia completely healthy. He’s always going to be the guy who wants to go out there and play and feel like he can play.”

Added Olney: “However they do it, however they plug in the hole, whichever way they go, especially with how they’re playing that they can feel like, ‘Let’s ride it out and give ourselves the best chance.’ ”

Olney said the idea to rest Pedroia will come from Valentine, a manager who has opted to keep players healthy for future success.

“[The Red Sox will] eventually take a look at it in a big-picture form,” Olney said. “I remember when I covered Bobby in 1997 and he tended to be someone who would err on that side of it. When he would say, ‘You know, I want to give the player the best chance to stay healthy and be productive over the course of the long haul. And if it means giving guys rest then I’m going to do that.’ And that’s what I would expect that they would do, regardless of whether they can do that with a DL stint or just giving [Pedroia] time off within that time frame.”

Pedroia’s injury also concerns infielder Kevin Youkilis, whom the Red Sox are said to be shopping for a trade. Pedroia’s injury should lead to more playing time for Youkilis, something Olney said teams considering a trade need to see.

“This is not going to be a short-term thing,” Olney said. “Teams are going to want to see him over the course of a long period of time. And 24 at-bats, which is what he’s had so far, isn’t enough to give them that type of information, especially given the amount of money involved with Youkilis’ contract.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On the Red Sox tweaking Carl Crawford’s throwing motion: “Let’s face it, throwing has always been regarded as the worst part of what he does. He’s never been known as anyone who’s going to gun down people. He basically would use — in the way that Tony Gwynn used to when he played with the Padres — he would use his body motion to get some zip on this throws. But he wasn’t someone who would stand flat-footed and wow you with the way he threw.”

On the A’s holding off on activating former Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez: “He could have in theory been activated [Wednesday]. His 40th birthday is today. I know Oakland had told him, had communicated through his agent over the weekend, ‘Look, he’s got to show more pop. He’s got to hit for more power,’ and he wasn’t doing that early on. Now, Oakland’s offense is so bad that at some point, even if Manny’s not hitting for power, you might see the Athletics front office just throw its hands up in the air and say, ‘You know what, just call him up and see what we see in him.’ But they were not impressed. Their initial plan without a doubt was to call him up and activate him today, and as of this moment it isn’t happening.”

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Buster Oleny, carl crawford, Dustin Pedroia
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