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Bobby Valentine defends decision to pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias on The Big Show

09.19.12 at 3:45 pm ET
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Bobby Valentine made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Wednesday, with his decision to pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias in the middle of an at-bat the biggest topic discussed. The interview ended with Valentine hanging up during a discussion about Joe Maddon‘s punctuality, with Valentine insisting that Maddon shows up to road games later than he does for home games.

Asked whether he gave any thought to pinch-hitting for Iglesias before he went to the plate on Sunday, Valentine responded, “Good question, Glenn! I really wish rather than everyone playing all the time, ‘I gotcha’ here in the media, for them to actually ask an intelligent follow-up question so something like that could be answered.

“Was there thought given to pinch-hitting for him when he went up to the plate? Let me explain the situation,” he continued. “There’s two out and [Pedro] Ciriaco‘s on first base. [Daniel] Nava’s my only left-handed pinch-hitter. Daniel Nava came down and I said, ‘Daniel, here’s what we’re going to do: If Pedro steals second base, you’re going to be the hitter.’ OK, let me explain that one through. If I send Nava up to hit and Pedro gets thrown out trying to steal, what I just did is used my defensive shortstop who doesn’t go out in a tie game to play shortstop, and I used my only pinch-hitter. He’s used out because the third out of the inning is used at second base. So the answer is no, I did not think about pinch-hitting for him at the beginning of that at-bat.”

Added Valentine: “It’s a baseball play, for those listeners out there who give a damn about baseball.”

Valentine strongly disagreed with the notion that the move shattered the young shortstop’s confidence.

“I understand that [there are] armchair psychologists who are thinking, ‘Oh God, the poor kid’s going to be crushed,’” he said. “I know Jose from spring training. I know what he’s doing. I know he’s struggling with his at-bats. The proof is always in the pudding. When he came back and played the last two nights, he played the best he’s been since he’s been up. He’s had his best at-bats and he’s run the bases the best. I would guess in a very small sample the question of whether his confidence was ruined would be no. I don’t know how to judge that.

“What we were dealing with was a very unique situation. Understand this: Jon Lester has pitched for us all season long. He’s pitched his heart out. He’s never missed a start. He’s two games under .500 going into that game, and I know what he wants to do and what I want him to do and what the fans want [him] to do, is for him to pitch his heart out for the rest of the way. If we can get him a couple more wins so he finishes at .500, there would be a way he goes home in the winter feeling OK about the battle that he conducted this year.”

Minihane replied that he didn’t think fans cared what Lester’s record was this year, which got a rise out of the manager.

“So I’m only supposed to think about what Jose’s feeling and not think about what Jon Lester, who from Day 1 has given everything he could to this team and this organization?” he asked. “I should just say, ‘I don’t really give a damn what happens to you. I’m only concerned with this kid who just came up, because I’m supposed to build his confidence.’ Is that what my job is?”

Added Valentine: “You think [Iglesias'] psyche is going to be broken because he was pinch-hit for in the middle of an at-bat? Give me a break.”

Valentine added that he was once pit-hit for in the middle of an at-bat with the bases loaded and a full count and that he learned from it.

“It made me more determined the next time I went up to prove to him that I was good enough not to get pinch-hit for,” he said. “That’s what this is. That’s what life is. That’s what you do.”

On the subject of Maddon, Minihane and Valentine were discussing the punctuality of managers when Minihane noted that while he was fine with the manager arriving later to the ballpark than usual for a game in Oakland, Valentine was the one who introduced Maddon’s punctuality to the argument.

“Thank you guys, good talking to you. Bye bye,” Valentine said before hanging up.

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