Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo regrets criticizing Alek Manoah in podcast interview

Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo made headlines last month for taking an unprompted shot at Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah. For the first time since that incident, the two are slated to face off against one another at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Verdugo, though, told’s Chris Cotillo on Tuesday that he is not more excited about facing Manoah as opposed to any other pitcher. He added that he regrets taking his feelings towards Manoah public.

“I think for me, it’s just another game,” Verdugo said. “I regret saying what I did, at least to the media, because it’s something I think I should have just, man-to-man, said it to him. I feel like at some point now, I would like to have a conversation with him. I’d like to talk to him. Just me and him. Kind of clear out some air, just be professional about it.

“Obviously, he’s one of those guys who’s a good pitcher and he carries a chip on his shoulder,” continued Verdugo. “We’re just going to see what happens. For me, it’s not going to be to go up there and try to get emotional with it.”

Back on April 4, Verdugo appeared on Audacy’s “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast. In a one-on-one conversation with’s Rob Bradford, Verdugo — seemingly out of the blue — went on somewhat of a tirade about the way Manoah carries himself on the mound.

More specifically, Verdugo referenced a Manoah start at Fenway Park last July in which the righty stared down and exchanged words with Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec after striking each of them out.

“I’ll say it right now, I think Alek Manoah goes about it the wrong way, 100 percent I think he does,” Verdugo told Bradford. “You can find videos of him, footage of him in Triple-A going like this to hitters. Last year, telling Franchy and Bobby like ‘go sit’ and [expletive] like that while looking right at them.”

“So it’s like, [expletive] like that just pisses me off,” he added. “It’s not the way it should be played. It should be played like you’re celebrating it with your team, you’re not [expletive] disrespecting another player who is – at the end of the day we’re just trying to compete, man, that’s it.”

It did not take long for Manoah to respond to Verdugo’s comments. He told Rob Langley of The Toronto Sun that same night: “Coming from him? I don’t give a (expletive). My job is to pitch and get guys out.”

Earlier this week, Manoah told The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams that he had never spoken with Verdugo and has never had a problem with him. Verdugo, for his part, said on Tuesday that while he wouldn’t take back his comments, he does wish he went about it in a different way.

“It’s not necessarily that I take back what I said because he’s good, man. When you’re good like that, you don’t need to do some of the other antics stuff that he does sometimes,” said Verdugo. “We’ve had some bad blood here and there. There are some times when I felt like it was a little bit too much and crossing the line.

“I talked to a lot of Blue Jays, a lot of guys in general who all say he’s a good teammate, a good guy,” Verdugo added. “Just when he’s on the field, he’s a different person with a different mindset out there. Part of me, I can respect that and I understand that’s what he might need to get amped up. At the same time, this game is hard, man. This game will humble you. There are a lot of things and I feel like if you go about it more the right way, you’re going to get more respect, not only from fans but from opposing players.”

Verdugo has had success against Manoah — who finished third in American League Cy Young voting last season — in the past. The 26-year-old has gone 7-for-16 (.438) with two doubles, one home run, and three RBIs in 17 career plate appearances against the Blue Jays ace. He has never been hit by a Manoah pitch and expects things to remain that way on Wednesday.

“I really don’t care about getting hit,” Verdugo said. “(Getting) hit is just extra on-base percentage. I don’t think it’s going to get to that. I don’t think we’re at that kind of beef. I still expect everybody to be professional and to go about it the right way, for him to try to make his pitches and get me out.”

Regardless of how Wednesday’s contest plays out, Verdugo is hopeful that he will be able to talk to Manoah at some point before the Blue Jays leave town for Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

“I’m not going in there being like, ‘Oh, man, we’ve got this beef going’ because at the end of the day, I want to have a one-on-one and I want to talk to him and just kind of clear the air on my side,” Verdugo said. “If he wants to accept it, then we accept it. If not, then we can continue doing what we are. I ain’t got nothing against him as a person. It’s just more some of the antics that I’ve seen against us that have rubbed me the wrong way.”

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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