When planning his team's lineup for Wednesday night, Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine whipped out his mobile phone to look up Minnesota Twins pitcher Liam Hendriks. He filled out a lineup card accordingly and posted it, perhaps 3 1/2 hours before the first pitch.
A few minutes later, Valentine re-posted Boston's lineup and it included several changes. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Sweeney were in, Kelly Shoppach and Darnell McDonald were out. And a few other guys had been moved around. So, what changed his mind?
Valentine finally realized that Hendriks pitched with his right hand — and not his left.
Granted that Hendriks is a 23-year-old rookie with 35 career innings coming into Wednesday.
But c'mon, Bobby, really? As reporter Gordon Edes of ESPN writes, yep:
"I looked on this thing," Valentine said, gesturing to his cellphone, "and there was no history on him. It had his name, and 'against left-handed hitting.' My fault. That's why you make these lineups out early enough."
Valentine said Saltalamacchia was the one who discovered the error.
"It was kind of funny," the manager said. "I talked to him yesterday about him not playing, and I thought I alluded to the fact that he could get two days in a row with a left-hander (Wednesday). So I kind of locked into right, right, left."
This reminds me of when Terry Bevington was manager of the White Sox and, one time, he got confused with umpires as to which side of an argument he needed to make. Really:
So, it could have been worse, because Valentine fixed his mistake (or his top catcher fixed it for him) and the Red Sox scored seven runs and beat the Twins. No harm done, right? None at all, except to Valentine's reputation, and the confidence his team (and fans, for whatever it's worth) have in him. He owned up to the mistake, which is what he probably should do, though was it necessary to give all of the details as to why he messed up? Here we are, still in the first month of the regular season and that's the best Valentine can do as far as research and preparation for his lineup? Checking his cell phone?
Also: Why would one assume that any pitcher is left-handed? Most are right-handed. Is it because Hendriks' first name is Liam, which starts with an "L"? Is it because Hendriks is from Australia, where they do everything backward because it's Down Under and the water drains counter-clockwise and the platypus? That assumes Valentine even knows where Hendriks is from. Did he question why Hendriks spells his last name like that?
Of course none of that went through Bobby's head because, like we've all been trained to do, he just looked at his phone to see who was playing that day.
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