BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine on Thursday after one season in which he failed to bring order to a clubhouse that disintegrated during the 2011 pennant race.
Valentine finished with a record of 69-93 on a team that was beset by injuries before management gave up on this season and traded some of its best players -- and biggest salaries. Without Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox will save $250 million in future salaries and have a chance to rebuild over the winter.
But that will be too late for Valentine.
"This year's won-loss record reflects a season of agony," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said. "It begs for changes, some of which have already transpired. More will come. We are determined to fix that which is broken and return the Red Sox to the level of success we have experienced over the past decade.
"Difficult as it is to judge a manager amid a season that had an epidemic of injuries, we feel we need to make changes. Bobby leaves the Red Sox manager's office with our respect, gratitude, and affection. I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute to the game he loves so much and knows so well."
One-and-done?: A pair of wild-card matchups on Friday -- St. Louis at Atlanta, then Baltimore at Texas -- will decide which teams advance to the next round. It's part of the new, expanded postseason format. Dramatic? Certainly. Fair? Depends on who you ask.
"I hate it. I'm old-school. I'm old," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
"I love it," Indians closer Chris Perez said. "If you are in it, or watching it as a fan, it doesn't get any more exciting."
Or, as Texas general manager Jon Daniels summed up on the eve of his team's big game: "I'll let you know tomorrow."
Phillies: The team promoted Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg to their coaching staff as third-base coach and infield instructor.