UPDATE 1-Baseball-Valentine appointed Boston Red Sox manager - reports

Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:56pm EST

(Writes through with detail/background)

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Bobby Valentine has accepted the job as new manager of the Boston Red Sox, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.

Valentine replaces Terry Francona who left the club in September, after the Red Sox had suffered one of the greatest late-season collapses witnessed in Major League Baseball.

Neither Valentine nor the Red Sox would immediately confirm the agreement but local media, including ESPN where Valentine worked as a sports analyst, said the deal had been made.

ESPN said Valentine was currently in Japan and would return to America to be formally introduced as the new manager on Thursday.

The 61-year-old played in the Major Leagues between 1969 and 1979 before moving into management, with spells at the Texas Rangers and the New York Mets as well as periods coaching in Japan.

He last managed in the Major Leagues at the Mets, leaving in 2002.

Valentine left his last management job at Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines in 2009 and began work as an expert television commentator before throwing his hat into the ring for the Red Sox job.

He takes over from Francona, who led the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2004 -- ending a championship drought dating back to 1918 - and again in 2007.

Leading the American League East by nine games at the start of the month, the Red Sox lost 20 of their last 27 games to miss out on the playoffs, earning the dubious distinction of the most awful final-month crash, a misery compounded by their status as pre-season favorites after a massive spending spree and a $161 million payroll.

(Writing by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Ossian Shine. To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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