Just when you thought we were safe from the inanity and irrelevance of John Lackey for one year, the rehabbing pitcher steps up his ugliness game while expending any last ounce of goodwill/amnesty his wife’s plight may have earned.

In a perfect storm of doucehbaggery, Lackey told Boston Globe “columnist” (via Big League Stew) Dan Shaughnessy what he thought about the “chicken and beer” fiasco that blew up after the Red Sox famous September collapse:

“Guys having a beer after their start has been going on for the last 100 years,” Lackey said. “This is retarded. It’s not like we were sitting up there doing it every night. It’s not even close to what people think.”

John Lackey, always looking to take the classy way out.

How is the chicken and beer thing still kicking, anyway? Despite his thoughtless comment, I actually agree with Lackey here! This controversy is long past its best before date. Unfortunately for all involved, Lackey lashing out in this manner ensures this non-issue is newsworthy for at least another day.

No stranger to controversy himself, new BoSox manager Bobby Valentine took the peculiar step of explaining in detail the team’s decision to demote light-hitting shortstop Jose Iglesias to AAA today.

As Dave Cameron noted at Fangraphs, it isn’t really surprising that the Red Sox choose to send the owner of a .235/.285/.269 Triple-A slash line back down to work on his offense. What is surprising is the manager’s choice to dive into the excruciating minutiae of the move.

Valentine was vocal in his support of Iglesias all spring, in spite of Boston GM (and Bobby V’s boss) Ben Cherington’s belief that the young gloveman requires additional development time. Valentine’s heart clearly goes out to the Punch ‘n Judy hitter:

The decision to send down Iglesias means Mike Aviles will open the season as the Red Sox starting shortstop. “Mike didn’t do anything wrong, that’s for sure,” Valentine said. “Mike did most everything right.”

And yet…

“It was not a tough decision,” Valentine said. “Eventually things play themselves out, and it’s easy to do the right thing.”

Valentine added that Iglesias needs to be more “consistent”, which is generally a useless buzzword but in this case may actually have merit. The Red Sox are trying to overhaul their Cuban import’s swing and Valentine and his staff felt Iglesias came out of his new swing mechanics after a rough day at the plate.

Jose Iglesias is never going to fool anyone into thinking he’s a viable offensive contributor but his defense figures to be as good as it gets. Should Iglesias make enough progress to qualify as just “bad” at the plate, he can provide value to an offensive juggernaut like the Red Sox while saving their patchwork pitching staff a few outs here and there.

But this is the Red Sox so nothing is that simple. This needs parsing and analysis and hints at an emerging rift between Bobby V and Cherington. Which is awesome, really. Great to see everyone keep their eye on the ball, so to speak.