Ben Cherington says comment didn’t mean Valentine firing was imminent

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Thursday clarified remarks he made in an interview on WEEI earlier in the day that indicated he’d like to move faster the next time he has to fill the field manager position.

Reached by the Globe Thursday afternoon, Cherington said he did not mean to suggest Bobby Valentine’s firing was imminent.

“I honestly meant it very literally, like we would like to spend less time on it,” Cherington said. “That could mean one day, that could mean no days. In my mind, it was nothing to do with Bobby or a decision about him, but I guess people are taking it the wrong way and if I need to clarify it, I’ll clarify it.”

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At the end of his interview on the Dennis & Callahan program., Cherington was asked about what his approach would be if a manager change was necessary. His response led to speculation he’d tipped his hand about an offseason move.

“What we know we need to do is hit the ground running this offseason. One of the things as I look back on last offseason that didn’t go perfectly was simply the amount of time that we spent on the manager search and what that did to the rest of the offseason,” Cherington said on WEEI. “I would like to spend less time on it this offseason, that’s for sure.”

Asked if he felt compelled clarify the remark, Cherington replied, “I mean, the only thing I can clarify is to tell you that I meant it in the most literal sense possible. We’d like to focus less of our offseason on who the manager is. I don’t think that has anything to do with Bobby Valentine. It has to do with how we’re allocating our time.

“As Larry [Lucchino, the team president] has stated many times, and as ownership has stated many times, Bobby is managing the team and we’ll meet after the season.”

On Wednesday, Valentine reiterated the notion he’d like to return for a second year as manager.

“When I come back next year. I think I’ll be prepared to handle them and hopefully we’ll have better results,” he said before the Red Sox lost their final home game of the season.

Cherington also commented on the impending addition of former team captain Jason Varitek to the team’s staff.

“My hope is that he can be a set of eyes and ears for me and we can expose him to a lot of different things, let him see what he enjoys the most, what he doesn’t and we will go from there,” Cherington said. “We’re going to allow him to kind of get his feet wet in different areas and get to know different areas of the organization and just be someone I can call and bounce some stuff off of.”