09/23/12 6:53 PM ET
Valencia working to regain past form
By Jason Mastrodonato / Special to MLB.com
But that doesn't mean the latter has been lost.
The Red Sox acquired Valencia from the Twins in early August, sensing the need for another third baseman with the departure of Kevin Youkilis.
But Valencia isn't proud of what he has shown in his brief stint with the club.
"Definitely not up to my standards," Valencia said.
But his two-run blast to give the Red Sox a temporary lead over the Orioles in an eventual 9-6 loss on Saturday, when he kept his weight back and smashed a curveball well over the Green Monster and into the adjacent parking lot, was a glimpse of how the 28-year-old used to play.
"It was great," manager Bobby Valentine said.
Valencia joined the Twins in 2010, and over 299 at-bats, he was everything they could have hoped, with a .311 average, a .799 OPS and a decent glove at third base.
Although his defensive ability drew questions early on, he's worked to a point where he's comfortable with his play at the hot corner.
It's his offense that's struggled.
He isn't making excuses, but with the year he's had -- bouncing between Minnesota and Triple-A Rochester, being traded to Boston, and again going back and forth between the Minors and Majors -- he collected more plane tickets than home runs.
"He had a unique situation," Valentine said. "Getting traded, that's tough, and then not playing, then going to the Minor Leagues, then coming here and not playing, then going back to the Minor Leagues -- he's been on a tough ride."
The hardest part has been trying to find consistency at the plate. In 130 at-bats in the Majors this season, Valencia has hit .188 and drawn just three walks while striking out 32 times.
"I'll tell you what, I was thinking about that earlier this year," he said. "And I've been a guy that's drawn some walks, but this year has been awful for me. I haven't drawn any walks at all and [I'm] striking out more than I should.
"I mean, on-base percentage is something that is important, something you should pride yourself on and something that's gotten away from me this year, and I have to get better at it."
After hitting just .250 in almost 300 plate appearances with Triple-A Rochester, he found a groove at Triple-A Pawtucket, batting .306 in 49 at-bats while helping the PawSox win the Governor's Cup.
And after working with Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler, Valencia is starting to once again show the promise of the player who finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2010.
"He came back with a different swing," Valentine said. "Arnie and the crew down there worked with him pretty rigorously.
"When he was here last time, remember, he hadn't played very much. He was in limbo or something for a while. His swing wasn't what it should be, and it looked much different when he came back in batting practice, and it looked much different in the game. And he's still getting into the routine of feeling good about himself."
Kalish unlikely to bat again this season
BOSTON -- Ryan Kalish has probably taken his last at-bat for the Red Sox this season.
Boston manager Bobby Valentine confirmed on Sunday that Kalish is on the roster solely in case of an emergency, although he could pinch-run if necessary.
Kalish, who has struggled through neck and shoulder ailments, is no longer swinging a bat.
"I think he'll be on a program during the wintertime that will put his body and his mind in the exact place it needs to be [for him] to be the kind of player we need for next year," Valentine said.
Kalish has shuttled back and forth between the Sox and Triple-A Pawtucket, though he hasn't seen consistent at-bats throughout the season.
The 24-year-old outfielder has hit .229 with a .260 slugging percentage in 96 at-bats with Boston and .261 with a .414 slugging percentage in 111 at-bats with Pawtucket.
"The best at-bats I saw him have were tough at-bats," Valentine said. "He might have been 0-for-3 in the game and not looked good, and he came up in his fourth at-bat and really looked better. That's all I've seen. But they tell me I've never seen the real Ryan Kalish. So, to be continued."
Jacoby Ellsbury was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup. Manager Bobby Valentine didn't elaborate on Ellsbury's nagging injury, saying only that it's a "throwing issue."
Ellsbury had been slated to lead off and play center field, but after making some warmup throws, he decided he needed another day of rest.
John Lackey pitched two shutout innings against Instructional League hitters in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday, striking out three and allowing no baserunners in his first competitive action of 2012. Lackey, who underwent Tommy John surgery last October, is expected to be ready for the 2013 season.
The Red Sox recalled outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin from Triple-A Pawtucket before Sunday's game. Valentine, asked about Lin on Friday, said there isn't a dire need for an extra outfielder, but with Ellsbury ailing and Ryan Kalish likely done for the year, Lin, who started the year with the Red Sox before hitting .247 in a full season in Pawtucket, will provide depth.
Valentine was asked why he appears to smell the baseball at times when he makes visits to the mound.
"That's funny, I do smell it," Valentine said. "What am I doing? I asked myself that once, while I was doing it. I like it. I like the smell of it. Must be the [Delaware River] mud mixed in with that Taiwanese leather. I don't know why I do it. ... It's kind of stupid."
Sunday marked the last day game at home for the Red Sox for 2012, a season in which they've gone 20-24 during the afternoon, compared with 48-60 at night. Prior to the game, the Sox (68-85) were 21 games behind the American League East-leading Yankees (88-63), a season-high.
Jason Mastrodonato is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.