Pedroia, Aceves downplay dugout dispute

OAKLAND -- There are two ways to look at the heated discussion between Alfredo Aceves and Dustin Pedroia in the Red Sox dugout on Saturday night.

It could be a sign that frustration is starting to boil over with the struggling team, which is bad. Or it could be a sign that at least the players still have enough emotional investment to care about a season that seems lost.

Cody Ross prefers to take the latter view.

"When you are not playing well that stuff happens," Ross said after the Red Sox lost their fifth straight, 7-1, to the A's. "It would be worse if stuff didn't happen, if we were just sitting back and letting it. When you aren't playing well, guys get upset and it happens."

What happened exactly? That was difficult to ascertain because Aceves and Pedroia both chose to say little about it, and manager Bobby Valentine didn't share much more.

"I'm not sure it was a big flare-up," Valentine said. "It was about positioning. Dustin said when he gets the sign he moves and Alfredo wanted to move him on his own. It's Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player."

After Aceves pitched the fourth inning, he and Pedroia were caught on camera in a heated discussion, one that required the intervention of third-base coach Jerry Royster. Valentine tried to intercede but Aceves waved him away.

Aceves had made a few pickoff throws to second, and they seemed to catch Pedroia off guard, because he was not on the bag when the throws came.

In the clubhouse after the game, Pedroia was tight-lipped about the incident when reporters questioned him.

"That's none of your guys' business," he said. "It's between teammates."

Aceves tersely refused to concede that he was even upset with Pedroia.

"You are saying I'm upset," he responded to a reporter. "I wasn't upset."

When he was asked what was going on, Aceves said: "It was things about our team. It was something that we have to communicate between us. But that's between us. It's part of the game."

Aceves was also involved in a strange play on a foul pop between home and first in the fourth inning.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia appeared to be there to make the play, but Aceves ran into him and dropped the ball, for an error. It didn't matter because the batter, Jonny Gomes, then fouled out a few pitches later.

Aceves remained in the game for two more innings after the controversial fourth and he allowed only one run in three innings of work.

It was another strange inning for a pitcher who last week was suspended for three games for "conduct detrimental to the team," apparently for how he handled himself after he was not called on to close a game.

While the Red Sox circled the wagons and tried to keep their dirty laundry in house, there was no hiding another shabby performance on the field. They blew a ninth-inning lead in the first game of the trip on Tuesday, and since then they have been outscored 42-8.

When Pedroia was asked if this is getting embarrassing, he said: "Yeah."

Ross agreed that it's been an ugly week: "Definitely we're a better club than how we've been playing. We've just got to continue to go out and fight and not give in, just keep going."

The pitching has obviously been the primary culprit this week -- and all season, really. The starters have not even given the Red Sox a chance lately. So far this week, Boston has trailed 4-0, 6-0 and 6-0 before scoring its first run.

"It's getting old, really old," Valentine said. "The offense is under stress. It's a tough way to play the game."

Pedroia, who ran his hitting streak to 12 and drove in Boston's only run of the game, agreed that the Red Sox need to turn things around.

"It's tough," he said. "You try to get on the board first, but we haven't done that in a while. We need to start doing that."