Some excerpts from Bobby Valentine's press conference Wednesday at the winter meetings in Dallas:
Q. How do you view Bard and how do you see his role this year?
VALENTINE: Well, Daniel Bard is an extremely talented pitcher from everything I've been watching on video, things I've seen statistically and everything that I've watched on television or live. Electric stuff. And talking to him on the phone, he seems like the guy everybody wants. I'll do what's right for the team. If you need me to close, I'll close. If you need me to start, I'll start. That's the greatest thing in the world, and it could also be the worst thing in the world because I don't think it's fair to him to put him in that position.
That being said, we're going to put him in that position, and we're going to see how things come to pass as the winter meetings close, as the winter goes on, as we add to our roster, and as spring training develops. I wish I had a good answer. I know he's a real talented pitcher.
Q. Last week you were saying that one of your priorities will be to get in touch with the players. How has that been going, and what's kind of the next big thing after that on your hit list?
VALENTINE: The text message -- I've reached out to a lot. I haven't gotten Daisuke, who's on the disabled list, Lowrie there's about five guys including Carl Crawford that I haven't been able to reach. I just went to the text because I decided I really wanted to have my voice be the first communication. But I haven't been able to get through.
I texted him, and I want to meet him if he wants to meet me before spring training ... I think that he deserves my reaching out to him, and I'm trying to do that.
I did reach out to Josh, and he didn't want me to say anything so I'm not going to say anything other than after he got through telling me how pissed off he was, we had a really good conversation. I'm not going to say anything about it.
Q. How much would you like to see [Crawford] settle into one spot [in the lineup] and just sort of keep him there?
VALENTINE: You know, when I talked to Adrian, he mentioned how hitting in one spot in the order wasn't important to him. And so different guys have different strokes. But I can tell you that in the thousands of games that I've managed, I never made out a lineup card thinking about one guy. It's always about the group and how you fit in kind of together for the whole lineup. Hell's bells, I'd love to have one lineup and use it for 162 games, but it's more than likely I'll use 162 lineups than one lineup. So there's going to be lots of moving parts. I'll talk to Carl about that.
I remember when Mike Piazza came to the Mets, and he said, I can't hit unless I'm batting third, and he batted fourth and had some of the greatest years of his life playing for the Mets. Sometimes they get over it.
Q. What are your expectations for Daisuke this season?
VALENTINE: For him to get healthy first. He's in a real weird situation being it's the last year of his contract, he was injured last year, things didn't go well, the team didn't win the championship, I'm sure he feels a lot of responsibility. But he's also looking at the calendar, he knows when opening day is, he knows when May 1 is and June 1, and we have to be careful to not let the calendar dictate his recovery process. I expect him to be healthy, and after that we'll take it from there.
Q. Will you talk about your rivalry with the Yankees?
VALENTINE: No, I hate the Yankees. I don't want to waste this valuable time talking about the Yankees. This is too valuable. (Laughter). I told Joe Girardi I used to love them, but now I hate them.
Q. Do you look at Aceves as being in the same boat right now as Bard or are you leaning one way or another on him?
VALENTINE: Same, from all the meetings and everything I've read statistically and everything I've seen, I think he's right in the middle there. Both, neither, I don't know what it is.