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Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘If you have a problem with [A.J. Pierzynski], address it’ in clubhouse

07.11.14 at 1:15 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar checked in with Middays with MFB to discuss A.J. Pierzynski, Jon Lester and other Red Sox news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox designated Pierzynski for assignment on Wednesday. Since then, multiple reports have suggested his negative presence in the clubhouse likely led to his early departure.

“When this thing happened from the immediate signing, it was an odd signing to me, because you had [Jarrod Saltalamacchia], Millar said. “There were some question marks with his back, but I thought Salty was a good scene in that clubhouse.

“The thing with A.J., backing up his career, a lot of money for a year, had a nice year with the Rangers. But there’s always been that little egg. Guys don’t like him at times. For sure playing against him guys didn’t like him.”

Millar added: “It’s typical when a season doesn’t go your way that there’s always going to be a scene, and this is just part of a scene. Maybe part of it was lack of production, swinging at first pitches and not playing the Red Sox way. All that in mind, see you later, A.J.”

Millar said issues regarding Pierzynski’s personality should’ve been addressed by the players before it became a problem.

“That’s my point, A.J. Pierzynski is a veteran,” Millar said. “If you’re around A.J., he’s not a bad guy. If you have a problem with A.J., address it. What I can’t stand in clubhouses, and shame on the Red Sox’ clubhouse, quit whispering and gossiping and address it.

“The articles come out, the Red Sox player gets kicked to the curb and all these bad articles come out, which I think is not fair because if it’s not addressed, how does A.J. know that he’s been staring at his phone for three months and that’s not cool in the Red Sox clubhouse?”

Millar said the reports about Pierzynski’s issues in the clubhouse are a sign that the Red Sox are lacking in terms of leadership.

“This is a ball club. You are in a locker room with your brothers you are going to bat with them for six or seven days a week. You have to be on the same page,” Millar said. “You’re dealing with men. This is not a fist fight. … So the Red Sox’ clubhouse, whoever the leader is, shame on them also.

“A.J. is definitely part of the problem, no doubt about it. But shame on whoever is supposed to be the leader and not addressing this in March, in April.”

Lester’s contract situation continues to be a topic of discussion involving the Red Sox. The Sox initially offered the lefty a four-year, $70 million contract in spring training. They’ve reportedly tried to resume talks with Lester.

“A lot of this stuff is usually better off going on behind closed doors,” Millar said. “We know Jon Lester is looking for an extension, right? We know the question is, ‘Do the Red Sox sign Jon Lester?’ It just becomes a little bit dicey when you get it into the public eye, because now you’ve got talk shows, the media and I don’t think it’s anybody’s business.

“It’s kind of like when Max Scherzer turned down $144 million. It became a quick distraction for the Detroit Tigers. That’s just business. It’s a ton of money, we still have an opinion, but I’m not Max Scherzer. And if he can go out and get $185 million then hey, that’s his business.

“This is between Jon Lester and the Red Sox.”

General manager Ben Cherington has said publicly that the Red Sox haven’t given up on the season yet despite being in last place. But admitted the Sox have to look at what’s best for the 2015 season.

“I think the smarter thing is to start focusing on next year,” Millar said. “You can’t get into August still multiple digits out and thinking, ‘Hey, we’ve got a chance’ when you’ve got five rookie starters. This is the Boston Red Sox, guys, we’re not into developing.”

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