Dustin Pedroia wants you to know that he does not hate Bobby Valentine.
There’s no Bobby V doll in Pedroia’s locker with pins sticking out of it. There’s no Manny Ramirez-Joe Kerrigan thing going on in the Red Sox clubhouse.
“I like Bobby,’’ Pedroia said, a couple of hours before he returned from the disabled list, batting third against the White Sox Thursday night. “I had a relationship with Tito [Terry Francona] over time, but me and Bobby get along great . . . Do I need to wear a [expletive] bike outfit to the field to show I get along with Bobby [Valentine rides his bike everywhere, home and away]? That way, everybody will think we love each other?’’
The 2008 American League MVP knows he contributed to the “Bobby V disconnect” theme when he ripped the manager after Valentine ripped Kevin Youkilis in April. Pedroia said, “Maybe that’s how things work in Japan,’’ and “that’s not the way we do things here.’’
“I stuck up for my teammate,’’ Pedroia said Tuesday. “Bobby said some things, but I talked to Bobby about it and he said he would have said the same thing. The whole deal was weird. It was the [11 a.m.] game and I got to the yard at 7:45 in the morning. I was the first one here and all the media came in and asked me about it. I got the questions, but I didn’t even read what was said before I commented and I wish I hadn’t done that. I told Bobby that.
“Me and Bobby have been fine. You hear all these stories that everyone is unhappy and that it’s a circus. We’re all trying to win, man. Bobby’s trying to win, I’m trying to win. We communicate and we’re on the same page. Just because I don’t play cribbage with Bobby doesn’t mean we don’t have a good relationship. We’re all professionals and trying to accomplish the same things, so I hope that helps the perception of me and Bobby.’’
What about that game at Wrigley Field when Pedroia stayed at his position when Valentine came out to the mound to talk to a Sox pitcher? It looked like a big diss by the little second baseman.
“I swallowed my dip, man,’’ said Pedroia, sounding very convincing. “Bobby came out and right when I went to take a step, I went to take my dip out and I [expletive] swallowed it. Man down. I chilled out right there. David [Ortiz] was playing first base and he said, ‘What the [expletive] is wrong with you?’ I told him, ‘I swallowed my dip, man.’
“You know how it is. Everybody wants something to talk about. It’s not the case, man. We’re fighting our butts off to try to win. Everybody in here wants to win the World Series and throw a big-ass party.”
Pedroia went 1 for 4 in his return and scored on Cody Ross’s walkoff home run in the Red Sox’ 3-1 victory. He is still batting only .265 with six homers and 33 RBIs. He missed 18 of Boston’s first 92 games. He jammed his right thumb in late May, then went on the disabled list with a thumb strain suffered while diving for a ball on July 3.
“The first one was way more painful than the last one,’’ said Pedroia.
Pedroia made a lot of noise on the bench.
“Hopefully, I didn’t wear everybody out,’’ he said. “I’ve always been in the lineup. That’s how I bring energy and help us win. I probably only did one thing to help us. I told Pedro [Ciriaco] how to slide into second.’’
Pedroia is an ideal No. 2 hitter, but he knows Carl Crawford likes the two-spot and says he’s happy to hit anywhere.
“I want to make Carl as comfortable as possible,’’ said Pedroia. “When Carl is in his comfort zone, he’s an electric player. To be a great offense, we want all of our pieces to be comfortable. I think he’s more comfortable in the two-hole . . . I don’t care where I hit. It doesn’t change my approach or what I’m trying to do. Let those guys [Jacoby Ellsbury and Crawford] run and get in scoring position.
“I think we have all the pieces to compete for a championship. I don’t see why not. We still haven’t played one game with all of our guys. Now with me coming back, David is out. But still we’re in position over the last 70 games to make a huge run and try to make everybody happy again.’’
What would make him think that anyone thinks the Sox are unhappy?
“I just get that impression,’’ said Pedroia.
Must be the media’s fault. Time to get out the bike shorts.Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.