There will be no drinking in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse this season.
The team will ban alcohol in the clubhouse and on the last plane flight of trips, Manager Bobby Valentine said Saturday.
The move comes after the team’s collapse in the American League East race last season, a tailspin that included reports of starting pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse on their days off rather than supporting their Red Sox teammates in the dugout.
It’s one of a handful of rules that Valentine is imposing in his first season as Boston’s manager, and he laid them out with team ownership by his side in a meeting Saturday morning before the first full-squad workout of the spring at Fort Myers, Fla.
“It’s just what I’ve always done, except for when I was in Texas, I guess,” Valentine said when asked why he had banned alcohol. “I’m comfortable with it that way.”
When asked how the players reacted to the news, Valentine said, “You mean like standing ovation or booing? I didn’t get either of those.”
Veteran David Ortiz did not bat an eye.
“We’re not here to drink. We’re here to play baseball,” he said. “This ain’t no bar. If you want to drink, drink at home.”
Last season, the Red Sox went 7-20 in September and saw their nine-game lead in the AL East disappear. After manager Terry Francona’s team missed the playoffs, the Boston Globe reported that starting pitchers, including Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester spent some of their days off drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.
Beckett and Lester said last week that mistakes were made last season, and both vowed it wouldn’t happen again.
Injured Phillies star Ryan Howard is leaving Philadelphia’s spring-training camp at Clearwater, Fla., for a few days to visit the doctor who did the surgery on his torn left Achilles’ tendon.
Manager Charlie Manuel called it “a little setback,” and General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it was a “routine checkup.”
Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore probably will miss opening day because of a strained lower back, an injury the former All-Star sustained while fielding ground balls as he prepared for what he hoped would be a healthy season.
Calhoun to have back surgery
Connecticut men’s basketball Coach Jim Calhoun hopes to return to the bench this season after he undergoes back surgery Monday.
Calhoun said he has gone through 10 days of cortisone shots, which took away some pain, and he is looking forward to the procedure.
Calhoun has been on medical leave since Feb. 3 because of spinal stenosis, a painful narrowing of the spine. He said doctors told him they must remove a bone chip that is sitting on a nerve.
Daniel Summerhays shot a four-under-par 67 and took a two-stroke lead over Chris Stroud in the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic at Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Summerhays had a 12-under 201 total on the El Camaleon course. Stroud had a 68. Michael Allen (66), Marc Turnesa (67) and Will Claxton (71) were four strokes back at eight under.
Agnieszka Radwanska won her eighth WTA title, defeating Julia Goerges, 7-5, 6-4, in the Dubai Tennis Championships final in the United Arab Emirates.
Radwanska will rise one place to a career-best No. 5 when the world rankings are released Monday.
She is 5-3 this year, with all of her losses to top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, who withdrew from the Dubai tournament because of an ankle injury.
Juan Martin Del Potro defeated top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 6-7 (9), 6-3, in an Open 13 semifinal at Marseille, France.
In the final, Del Potro will face 2010 champion Michael Llodra of France, who defeated third-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, 6-4, 7-6 (10). Llodra saved six set points in the tiebreaker and converted his first match point when Tipsarevic hit a forehand wide.
Milos Raonic needed only 75 minutes to beat Benjamin Becker, 6-4, 6-4, in the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships at Nashville, Tenn., and reach his second final in two weeks.
Raonic won at San Jose last week and is 15-1 this year. He will face Jurgen Melzer, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Radek Stepanek.
On the women’s side, Sofia Arvidsson beat top-seeded Marina Erakovic, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Memphis International final.
Austrian veteran Benjamin Raich got his first World Cup victory in more than two years, winning a super-G while favorite Didier Cuche finished third at Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Raich’s technical skills were on display as he mastered a tough middle section and clocked 1 minute 34.37 seconds on the Nationale course. Adrien Theaux of France was second, 0.24 of a second back, and Cuche trailed Raich by 0.36 of a second.
Bode Miller was sidelined for a second straight day, resting his left knee after undergoing minor knee surgery in the United States this week. Miller also will skip the giant slalom Sunday.
Raich’s 36th World Cup victory, sixth on the all-time list ahead of Miller, was his first in super-G.
A women’s World Cup downhill at Bansko, Bulgaria, was canceled because of strong wind and won’t be rescheduled.
A 400-meter relay team that included USC football players D.J. Morgan, Nickell Robey, Marqise Lee and Tony Burnett won a heat in 41.05 seconds at the Claremont Relays.
USC’s Jovante Slater, Davonte Stewart, Terence Abram and Aaron Brown won another heat in 40.38.
— Gary Klein