Whatever power struggle might have existed between Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and GM Ben Cherington came to a swift and sudden end Tuesday.
And the winner is ... Ben Cherington.
The Red Sox made a major roster announcement yesterday, and in effect made a second with little fanfare. Both made clear that it is Cherington -- at least for now -- who is calling the shots as to the makeup of the team.
Shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias was reassigned to Triple A Pawtucket, a move that clearly was favored by Cherington and lobbied against publicly by Valentine, who wanted the raw, 20-year-old as his Opening Day starter. Iglesias has all the tools defensively to make a Major League impact, but lacks prowess with the bat, which was ultimately what sent him back to the minors.
Instead, Mike Aviles will be the Opening Day starter at short.
The other development yesterday was the apparent confirmation that Daniel Bard will break camp in the rotation, after Valentine had indicated a desire to move the former setup man back to the bullpen. Instead, Bard will apparently start April 9 against Toronto, joining Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront in the rotation, with Alfredo Aceves returning to a relief role.
But it is the Iglesias decision, which became a media circus the past few days, that was critical for Cherington. The Sox GM was in danger of having his reputation as being a puppet of the front office cemented even further, after appearing to have had Valentine forced upon him as manager in the first place.
But it is also a blow to Valentine, who so publicly lobbied for Iglesias, and lost the war.
"I wouldn't say 100 percent but it was a group decision," Valentine told reporters yesterday. "Everybody was on the same page. I'd like to think it was partly my decision. I'd like to think that. It was never a debate. I never even knew what side he was taking and I don't know if he ever knew what side -- if that's what it was -- that I was taking."
For Iglesias, the decision wasn't political; it was personal.
"We have some tough decisions going on," Iglesias said. "But at the end of the day, I can't control that. Get better, that's what I can control. And that's what I will. They know what they're doing, what's best for my development and my career. We'll see what's going to happen next. It was a tough decision for everybody."