Valentine bans alcohol in Boston's clubhouse

Valentine bans alcohol in Boston's clubhouse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced to his team on Saturday that he will ban alcohol in the clubhouse this season. The decision came on the heels of starting pitchers admitting they consumed alcohol during games they weren't pitching in last season instead of supporting their teammates on the bench.

However, for Valentine, the rule is pretty much standard operating procedure.

"It's just what I've already done, except for when I was in Texas, I guess," Valentine said. "I'm comfortable with it that way."

The Red Sox will also ban alcohol on flights that come at the end of a road trip.

With Boston players desperately trying to turn the page following everything that went wrong at the end of 2011, there didn't figure to be much resistance to Valentine's rules.

"We're not here to drink," said slugger David Ortiz. "We're here to play baseball. You know what I'm saying? This ain't no bar. This is an organization, a place that needs a lot of athleticism. Alcohol has nothing to do with that. People have alcohol in their houses. If you want to drink it, drink at home."

The Red Sox became the 19th of the 30 Major League teams to ban alcohol in the clubhouse, making it unlikely players will express displeasure.

Valentine didn't feel the need to discuss the rule change with any of his players ahead of time.

"What would happen if they got traded to St. Louis? Would they refuse the trade? Or New York? Or one of the other 19 teams, or however many teams there are? I don't know," Valentine said. "I doubt it. I don't know what kind of pushback you could get."

The change in policy was just another way the Red Sox distanced themselves from 2011, a season that will forever live in team infamy.

The Red Sox had a team meeting Saturday morning prior to the first full-squad workout.

"It was good. It was all about putting 2011 behind us and moving forward," said left fielder Carl Crawford. "That's all we can do."

"Bobby said one thing that is absolutely true," Ortiz said. "When you do something that embarrasses this organization, you're embarrassing yourself, too."

To Valentine, overall conduct is more important than any specific rule.

"The rules are not to embarrass themselves or the team, the community, their teammates, themselves," Valentine said. "I don't think that's a new rule. That's a long standing rule of life."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.