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NEW YORK — Bobby Valentine has been working on little sleep since Japan was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami last week, devoting much of his time to tracking down friends and former players and figuring out a way to help from thousands of kilometers away.

“I’m feeling hopeless, helpless,” Valentine said in a phone interview Thursday from his office in Stamford, Conn. “What I do have is a pretty good circle of friends who I reached out to. I think I’ll be able to contribute.”

The ESPN baseball analyst was manager of the Chiba Lotte Mariners in 1995 and from 2004-09, leading them to a championship on 2005, and his ties to Japan are strong. Once Valentine began seeing images of the aftermath of the 9.0-magnitude quake that hit Tohoku last Friday, he began texting, e-mailing and calling for updates.

Valentine has spoken to Chiba Lotte team executives, friends with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the heavily hit city Sendai and employees at a school he helped found seven years ago.

“The country is shaken, they’re living in a very uncomfortable state,” Valentine said.

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