Bobby: 'Time to put the pedal to the metal'

Manager Bobby Valentine said Friday he thinks the Boston Red Sox still have a chance to make the postseason despite trailing the first-place New York Yankees by 10½ games in the AL East entering their weekend series in the Bronx.

"We can win and we can get things going in the right direction now," Valentine said Friday afternoon on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "With 60-plus games [left], it's about time to put the pedal to the metal and I think it's just about time that we get out and get our act together."

Valentine admitted the Sox have struggled for stretches of the season, but maintained confidence in his team's ability to bounce back.

"I think we're a good team, and I think if we, if everyone does their jobs we'll win games and play well."

The Sox lineup is awaiting the return of David Ortiz, who's expected to come off the disabled list when eligible Wednesday. Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford came back from injuries last week, and Valentine seemed relatively pleased with their progress.

"I think there's always room for improvement, but it seems because Ellsbury had spring training and had 20 games of the season, he's more baseball-ready than Carl, who had no spring training and really had a short rehab. ... He came back and had a couple good games and ran the bases really well, but after watching him for a week now, he still has a lot of growth and needs to see more pitches before he's really as comfortable as we'd like him to be."

The bigger issue for Boston is a lackluster starting rotation. Valentine had no easy explanation for the struggles of the presumed aces of the staff, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

"It's a mystery," Valentine said. "They're very, very talented guys. There's been a lot of weird plays when they're pitching -- that one play that could end the inning and turn the game around. It seems like most every time it's been going the other way. The way I look at that is that the next 10-12 starts, things could start going their way and they could get on a real run, and that's exactly what we need."

With the Sox in New York for a weekend series with the Yankees, Valentine weighed in on Ichiro Suzuki, whom the Yankees acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this week. Valentine said he always thought Ichiro would have success in the major leagues after starting his career in Japan.

"I thought that he'd have a decade of greatness, and he's had that," Valentine said, but acknowledged that Ichiro still managed to exceed his lofty expectations.

The Sox manager wasn't exactly happy about the Yankees' trade for Ichiro. But did he think it was a good baseball move by New York?

"Yeah, regretfully. Yeah, I do. I think he's got a lot left in the tank."

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