|08.08.09 at 12:56 pm ET|
Speaking alongside the Major League Baseball Players Association general counsel Michael Weiner, Red Sox DH David Ortiz said he was ‘a little bit careless back in those days when I was buying supplements and vitamins over the counter’ but insists he never bought or used steroids. Ortiz said he did meet with Weiner in 2004 for a short meeting but was never told he tested positive for steroids.
– Ortiz said that once he found out that one of the supplements he was taking was banned he stopped taking it.
“I consider myself one of the guys that I definitely was a little bit careless back in those days when I was buying supplments and vitamins over hte counter, legal supplments or legal vitaments over the conter,” he said. “But I never used steroids.”
– Asked why he didn’t say he never bought or took steroids when initially confronted with the news, Ortiz said he wanted to get all the facts soon. Weiner said, “If it was simply up to David he would have been up there a lot sooner than he was today”, pointing out that the union encouraged the Sox slugger to wait.
– Ortiz said he was tested 15 or more times since the 2003 test, plus two more times for the World Baseball Classic, and never came up positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
– He said he obtained the supplements and vitamins in both the United States and Dominican Republic.
– Weiner clarified that a maximum of 96 players could have tested positive for the 2003 test for performance-enhancing drugs, not the 104 as was previously reported. Weiner went on to say that as few as 83 could be the number of positive tests, with as many as 13 of the tests being classified as inconclusive by the union, but because the 83 would be enough to trigger the new testing policy the exact number wasn’t further pursued.
– Weiner pointed out that Ortiz is not aware of anything regarding the 2003 test results.
– Ortiz wouldn’t like to see any of the other names on the list come out, pointing out his frustration of the lack of information he could get from the union and not wishing that frustration on anybody else.
|08.08.09 at 12:23 pm ET|
The following is a statement released by the MLBPA regarding the well-publicized testing for performance-enhancing drugs:
Major League Baseball Players Association General Counsel, Michael Weiner, today issued the following statement regarding 2003 testing.
‘The New York Times recently reported that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez “are among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.” The reported sources for this statement were “lawyers with knowledge of the [test] results” who “spoke anonymously because the testing information is under seal by a court order.” The Association has previously offered its views regarding this patent violation of court orders by attorneys, and The New York Times’ active pursuit and publication of what it openly acknowledges to be information that may not be legally disclosed.
‘In light of the Times’ report, and all the other newspaper reports it has spurred, the Association feels compelled to offer the following additional comments:
‘The sealing orders, which were appropriately issued by the various courts to maintain the collectively-bargained confidentiality of the testing, prevent the Association from supplying a player with specifics regarding his 2003 test results, or from discussing those specifics publicly. The practical effect of the sealing orders, if that confidentiality is to be maintained, is to further preclude the Players Association from confirming or denying whether a player’s name appears on any list which purportedly discloses the 2003 test results. The result is that any union member alleged to have tested positive in 2003 because his name supposedly appears on some list — most recently David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez — finds himself in an extremely unfair position; his reputation has been threatened by a violation of the court’s orders, but respect for those orders now leaves him without access to the information that might permit him to restore his good name.
‘Unlike those anonymous lawyers who have violated the court orders — and The New York Times, which has authorized an active and willful pursuit of those violations — the Association will respect the courts’ rulings. But we can legally say the following, each of which we suggest must be considered in assessing any and all newspaper reports stating a player has “tested positive for steroids in 2003.’
‘First, the number of players on the so-called “government list” meaningfully exceeds the number of players agreed by the bargaining parties to have tested positive in 2003. Accordingly, the presence of a player’s name on any such list does not necessarily mean that the player used a prohibited substance or that the player tested positive under our collectively bargained program.
‘Second, substantial scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003 test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab that administers the current Drug Agreement were not utilized by the lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.
‘Third, in 2003, legally available nutritional supplements could trigger an initial “positive” test under our program. To account for this, each “test” conducted in 2003 actually consisted of a pair of collections: the first was unannounced and random, the second was approximately 7 days later, with the player advised to cease taking supplements during the interim. Under the 2003 program, a test could be initially reported as “positive”, but not treated as such by the bargaining parties on account of the second test. ‘
|08.07.09 at 8:01 pm ET|
NEW YORK — So, here is what happened Friday (before the epic, 15-inning, 2-0 Red Sox‘ loss):
– Toronto outfielder Alex Rios was claimed off waivers, as was reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney, leading some to suspect that the Red Sox might be the team making a claim on the Blue Jays outfielder (who is owed more than $60 million). But late Friday afternoon a source told WEEI.com that the Sox were not the team that made the claim.
– Junichi Tazawa was called up from Triple A Pawtucket. Friday night his role will be out of the bullpen, with the Red Sox making a determination after that as to what the pitcher will do. It was not announced who will take John Smoltz‘ spot in the rotation. (More on that in a bit.) For a great breakdown on Tazawa’s unlikely path to the big leagues, check out Alex Speier’s blog entry.
– To make room for Tazawa the Red Sox designated Billy Traber for assignment, and Woodward’s spot was made possible by the DFA’ing of John Smoltz. The Red Sox aren’t ruling out a return by Smoltz, who Sox GM Theo Epstein met with Friday morning to inform the pitcher of the news. It would seem as though the opening for such a return would see Smoltz go the minors to see if relieving might be an option going forward. As Red Sox manager Terry Francona pointed out, the team wouldn’t ask the surgically-repaired shoulder of Smoltz to simply dive into the relief pitching lifestyle that encompasses quick warm-up periods.
|08.07.09 at 5:15 pm ET|
BOSTON, MA — The Red Sox today claimed infielder Chris Woodward off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and recalled right-handed pitcher Junichi Tazawa from Triple-A Pawtucket. Both players will be available for tonight’s game against the Yankees. Woodward will wear No. 3 and Tazawa will wear No. 63. To make room on the active Major League roster, right-handed pitchers John Smoltz and Billy Traber were designated for assignment.
The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.
Woodward, 33, hit .239 (16-for-67) with five RBI in 20 games for Seattle before being designated for assignment on August 4. He made 15 appearances (14 starts) at third base, five (four starts) at second base and one (one start) at shortstop and has played at least three different positions in seven of his 10 Major League seasons. Woodward began 2009 with Triple-A Tacoma where he batted .299 (52-for-174) with one home run and 15 RBI in 51 games.
In 2005, the right-handed hitter played at least five games at every defensive position except pitcher and catcher, joining Denny Hocking (2000-01) and Clay Bellinger (2000) as the only Major Leaguers ever to accomplish the feat. He has the most experience at shortstop, where he owns a .966 career fielding percentage in 316 games (279 starts).
Originally selected by Toronto in the 54th round of the 1994 First-Year Player Draft, Woodward has a career .243 batting average with 33 home runs and 191 RBI over 627 games with the Blue Jays (1999-2004), Mets (2005-06), Braves (2007) and Mariners (2009).
Tazawa, 23, is 9-7 with a 2.55 ERA in 20 starts this season split between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket. The right-hander was named an Eastern League All-Star after going 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 18 starts for the Sea Dogs. He also represented Team World in the 2009 All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis but did not play.
Promoted to Pawtucket on July 26, the native of Yokohama, Japan is 0-2 despite a 2.38 ERA in two International League starts, last allowing two runs in 5.1 innings in a loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. He is currently in his first professional season after signing with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent following a four-year career with the Nippon Oil ENEOS of the Japan Industrial League.
Smoltz, 42, went 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA in eight starts for the Red Sox this season. The 1996 N.L. Cy Young Award has a 212-152 career record with 154 saves and a 3.32 ERA in 716 games (474 starts) with the Braves (1988-2008) and Red Sox (2009). He ranks 16th in baseball history with 3,044 strikeouts and is the only pitcher ever to record at least 200 wins and 150 saves in his career.
Traber, 29, made season debut for the Red Sox last night, allowing five runs over 3.2 relief innings. He was selected to Boston’s active roster on August 5 after going 7-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 32 games (four starts) for Pawtucket.
— RED SOX —
|08.07.09 at 4:22 pm ET|
A couple of Japanese terms became popular on Boston’s Double-A affiliate this year. Portland players took to saying, ‘saiko,’ or good job, following pitcher Junichi Tazawa’s outings, and ‘egui’ to describe a particularly ‘sick’ pitch.
Tazawa gave plenty of opportunities to use both terms. With Double-A Portland, he went 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA, earning a role as the starting pitcher for the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game. Shortly thereafter, the Sox further recognized his excellent work by giving him a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he made two starts and, despite going 0-2, forged a 2.38 ERA.
That further reinforced a perception that Tazawa has been creating since he arrived in Red Sox spring training camp, namely that he entered his first professional season with the polish of someone ready to pitch in the majors. That notion gained its ultimate confirmation on Friday, when the Sox called up Tazawa from Pawtucket to join the major-league club in New York.
Tazawa will be available in the bullpen in New York on Friday. His role beyond that, manager Terry Francona said, has not yet been determined.
Tazawa has more than delivered on the promise that convinced the Sox to sign him to a three-year, $3.3 million major-league contract in December. He features a sophisticated four-pitch mix (fastball, curve, slider, splitter) that makes it hard to believe, at times, that he is dealing with the transition to professional baseball, as well as a new culture on and off the field.
‘It’s a great combination,’ Portland pitching coach Mike Cather said recently. ‘(His performance) has been steady, but I think that the progress of the plan that he’s taking out there from game-to-game has gotten much more defined: setting up hitters, usage of his stuff, execution of his fastball and fastball command, how he attacks the hitter.’
After a dominant spring training (1.00 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 9 innings), Tazawa was assigned to Double-A Portland, where he showed constant growth on the mound, something that continued as he moved up to Triple-A. For now, Tazawa typically works with an 88-92 mph fastball, but sometimes he touches 93 and 94 mph, and over the long term, the Sox believe that he might be able to hold that velocity as he benefits from a strengthening program.
“In the future, yes, I think there’s definitely a chance this guy’s going to throw a bit harder,” Sox farm director Mike Hazen said last month. “Whatever his future holds at the major league level, there’s a chance that he throws hard but now that’s what we’ve seen, 88-92 up to 93 or 94.”
Because Tazawa is in his first pro season, and is coming from a league that hasn’t offered a clear precedent for a transition to professional ball in the U.S., mapping out the duration of his season is a bit tricky. He assumed a significant workload (described as anywhere from 150-180 innings) while pitching for Eneos of a Japanese amateur industrial league last year, and so the Sox have long considered the possibility of using him as a reliever later this year (likely in a September call-up) to manage his innings. Some of the decision will be based on how he performs in strength tests.
For now, however, he is at 110 innings, and so the Sox feel comfortable with having him continue to add innings either in the rotation (where he has spent the entire season, and where the organization believes he has a long-term future) or the bullpen for the short term.
‘He may get some innings as a reliever, but we’ll see. Right now, nothing’s really been mapped out,’ Hazen said a few weeks ago, before Tazawa was promoted to Pawtucket. ‘We do feel pretty comfortable that he’s worked to a certain threshold and can hold a starter’s log for the season’¦I think we certainly see him as a starting pitcher but in the short term he may end up pitching out of the bullpen at some point in September or thereabouts.’
Though Tazawa’s strikeout numbers are down in Triple-A (he has struck out 4.8 per nine innings in his two starts, down from 8.1 per nine innings with Portland), he has held opponents to a .184 average in his two starts. Particularly noteworthy has been Tazawa’s success against right-handers, who are 1-for-18 (.056) against him in two starts for Pawtucket.
Pawtucket has been just the latest evidence that Tazawa seems unphased by any transition. He was very popular among his teammates in Portland (with whom he made a concerted effort to connect even though he still requires a translator to do so), he has adopted in full the Red Sox’ shoulder and strengthening programs as well as the organization’s outline for between-starts routines, and after having pitched exclusively out of the stretch while with Eneos, it took the pitcher just a couple of starts at the beginning of the season to become comfortable pitching out of the windup, thereby reducing the stress on his shoulder in his delivery. He became accustomed, too, to an American baseball that Tazawa described as “more slippery” than the ball used in Japan.
Asked at the Futures Game whether anything about his success in his first professional season had surprised him, Tazawa’s answer was blunt.
“No,” he said. “I just want to learn everything about American-style baseball.”
Now, he will have a new opportunity to learn, this time at the major-league level. Tazawa said at Yankee Stadium that his biggest concern is the difference in the baseball between the minors (which is manufactured in China) and the majors (Costa Rica). The next phase of the pitcher’s apprenticeship will be closely watched on two continents.
Rob Bradford contributed from New York.
|08.07.09 at 1:53 pm ET|
The following are selected transcriptions of the MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds speaking with Holley and Frede today:
‘I think he’d be really effective out of the bullpen. If you watch his starts, the one thing that he hasn’t been able to do is maintain. He’d be great getting through one inning. He’s still got good enough stuff to do that and he’s smart enough, but I think when you’re in the mindset of trying to extend yourself to pitch through six innings, you may not give that maximum effort.
‘I’ve known John a long time, and I don’t think he came all the way back just to quit, so I can’t see him doing that. And he’s a team player. In Atlanta, the Braves said, hey we need a closer. He did that and became one of the best in baseball. I think he would go to the bullpen in a setup role if given the option. I think he’s a team guy like that, and I think that’s his personality. If not, he would clearly not want to be a distraction on a ballclub. That’s John Smoltz and I think that’s what’s so great about him. Sometimes we all need to come to reality and realize what we’re capable of doing and what we’re not. I think he’s one guy who can assess his own talents.’
‘Well number one I love him to death and I think to anyone who’s been around him his personality is infectious. I was disappointed. I’m saddened by it. The thing about it that’s so puzzling is, and I don’t care what players say, they knew. They were all told in 2003, hey you’re on this list’¦ if you go back, and it’s not necessarily that guys were taking steroids, or knowingly I should say, but there are so many substances that have been banned since that time. That’s his only out, that this was something that got banned later on and at the time it wasn’t a banned substance.
‘As far as I know, and I could be wrong but I doubt it, they were alerted by the Players’ Association’¦ I believe that all hundred and whatever guys there were were told and probably also asked what they were taking so that the union could gather the information and say, this is what’s causing the positive tests.
‘There’s been a lot of grey area, and the public has this perception that there’s no grey area with sticking a needle in you. Well that’s not always the case. Guys are taking different supplement packages, amino acids, creatine, different stuff like that that are part of your daily regiment of vitamin supplements so to speak, so that was a big problem. The other thing that happened is that a lot of guys have personal trainers’¦ so they have been banning a lot of the personal trainers, there has been a serious strictness of this is what’s going to happen because of the research.
‘I think the education is getting there and I think guys are starting to understand it.’
|08.07.09 at 1:40 pm ET|
In the past when the Red Sox hit a bump in the road I was always confident the pitching would come around, at least until the bats got going. That hasn’t the base here over the last three weeks. Here we are and all of a sudden three-fifths of the rotation is struggling just to get through five innings.
You have to wonder: Where is the help going to come from?
Is Daisuke Matsuzaka going to re-emerge in September?
Can Paul Byrd help despite not having thrown a major league pitch since last season?
And how about Tim Wakefield, who can throw a bullpen session but can’t cover first base?
To me, you go young. You go with Michael Bowden.
Let’s face it, the John Smoltz experiment is at an end. He’s a Hall of Famer who has been through the wars and has been a great, great pitcher. He’s just not getting it done. It really makes you appreciate what Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez did, losing five mph on their fastballs and still getting big leaguers out.
Right now Smoltz has no confidence in his fastball, he can’t locate it, and when he doesn’t locate he is getting burned. He’s giving up home runs left and right and just simply not getting it done, a fact backed up by the fact that in six of his eight starts he has allowed five or more runs. I think last might have been it for Smoltz in the starting rotation.
But that’s not the Red Sox’ only problem.
You have Jason Bay with the hamstring problem, J.D. Drew’s groin, and now Rocco Baldelli has this bruised ankle. Kevin Youkilis was playing left field for goodness sake. Then there is Jed Lowrie’s arm injury. It makes you think what has happed to this team we felt soo good about a month ago. Is Theo’s phone burning right now? That’s the question. Does he go out and look for a Jon Garland, or somehow manage to pry away Marco Scutaro from Toronto? (A tough feat with Scutaro presenting value to the Jays as a potential Type A free agent.)
I have another question — what does Casey Kotchman do for this team? Nothing against Casey Kotchman, he’s a very good player, but basically we’re saying he’s a defensive replacement. Not sure the Red Sox have the luxury of using a roster spot for that right now. You need an extra guy in the bullpen, as well as a fifth outfielder. It makes you wonder if Mark Kotsay wouldn’t be a better fit for this club since he fills two rolls, first baseman and outfielder. I understand Adam LaRoche and Kotchman are better hitters, but for the chemistry of this team Kotsay might be a better fit.
What is going to be out there? Can Theo pull something off? Is this team good enough right now? I don’t think so. And their biggest question remains the most important one. Once so deep with starting pitching, now they can’t find five guys to fill out a rotation.
Something has to be done, and done quick.
|08.07.09 at 12:54 pm ET|
RED SOX VS. A.J. BURNETT
As fate would have it, tonight marks the third time this season that A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett, who were once Marlins teammates, will face each other. It’s been advantage Sox on the two previous occasions, due in large part to a couple of stinkers turned in by Burnett.
In starts against Boston on April 25 and June 9, Burnett lasted only five innings and two and two-thirds innings, respectively. He’s given up a total of 13 runs to the Sox this season, 11 of which were earned. He looks to forget about those two and an ugly last start against the White Sox in which he gave up seven earned and wasn’t able to make it through the fifth. As it stands he’s 10-5 on the season with a 3.89 ERA.
Here’s how Sox hitters have done against the right-hander:
David Ortiz (28 career plate appearances vs. Burnett): .259 average / .286 on-base / .593 slugging, 2 homers, 5 RBI, BB, 10 SO
Dustin Pedroia (28): .273 / .429 / .545, 2 homers, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 2 SO
Kevin Youkilis (26): .261 / .346 / .261, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, HBP
J.D. Drew (25): .300 / .440 / .400, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SO
Mike Lowell (23): .200 / .304 / .250, 3 BB, 4 SO
Jason Varitek (21): .278 / .381 / .556, homer, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, HBP
Jason Bay (20): .333 / .400 / .556, homer, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO
Jacoby Ellsbury (18): .278 / .278 / .444, homer, RBI, 4 SO
Victor Martinez (17): .250 / .471 / .333, 4 BB, SO, HBP
Jed Lowrie (12): .167 / .167 / .250, 4 SO
Nick Green (10): .300 / .300 / .600, RBI, 2 SO
Casey Kotchman (10): .300 / .300 / .400, SO
John Smoltz (3): 0-for-3, 2 SO
YANKEES VS. JOSH BECKETT
Here comes the bad news for Sox fans. Lost in all of the talk of Burnett’s stinkers against the Sox is the fact that in that April 25 game in which Burnett gave up eight earned, his former teammate was even worse.
While both pitchers lasted just five and each allowed eight earned runs and two homers while striking out three, Beckett allowed more hits (10 to Burnett’s eight) and walks (four to Burnett’s three). Fortunately for the Boston ace, the Sox were able to win the game, 16-11.
In two starts against the Bombers since then, Beckett turned in six innings apeice and has given up three earned and zilch, respectively. The more impressive of the two came on June 9 (against Burnett) when he gave up just one hit and struck out eight.
Beckett has now had 16 straight starts, dating all the way back to May 5, in which he’s lasted at least six innings. Two of those have been complete-game shutouts and he’s had a 2.28 ERA over the span.
Lastly, who said it’s too early for Cy Young talk? According to the Neyer and James’ Cy Young predictor formula [which, as everyone knows, is ((5*IP/9)-ER) + (SO/12) + (SV*2.5) + Shutouts + ((W*6)-(L*2)) + Victory Bonus], Beckett would be a close second to Felix Hernandez if the season were to end today.
Lifetime, current Yankee hitters have hit .294 off Beckett. Here are the individual numbers:
Derek Jeter (47): .318 / .348 / .409, homer, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO
Johnny Damon (45): .293 / .341 / .561, 2 homers, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 9 SO
Robinson Cano (42): .342 / .405 / .605, 2 homers, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO
Alex Rodriguez (41): .306 / .390 / .472, homer, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 8 SO
Melky Cabrera (39): .343 / .385 / .429, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 8 SO, HBP
Jorge Posada (30): .321 / .367 / .357, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 8 SO
Hideki Matsui (21): .200 / .238 / .300, BB, 3 SO
Eric Hinske (20): .250 / .250 / .350, RBI, 5 SO
Nick Swisher (19): .313 / .421 / .500 homer, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO
Mark Teixeira (18): .154 / .389 / .154, 5 BB, 6 SO
Jose Molina (13): .154 / .154 / .154, 4 SO
Jerry Hairston (7): 2-for-7, 3 RBI, SO
Sergio Mitre (2): 1-for-2
|08.07.09 at 12:55 am ET|
NEW YORK — One of the more memorable moments for the Red Sox during their forgettable 13-6 loss to the Yankees, Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, came with the game already out of reach in the eighth inning.
Yankees pitcher Mark Melancon — a former University of Arizona reliever who Dustin Pedroia hit well while at rival Arizona State — first threw a pitch over the Sox’ second baseman’s head before hitting him in the left shoulder.
Pedroia immediately yelled out Melancon, “That’s two (expletive) times, (expletive)!” while being escorted down the first base line by New York catcher Jorge Posada. The incident led to Red Sox manager Terry Francona coming out to show his displeasure, while also checking on the health of his No. 2 hitter at first base.
“It was kind of surprising, obviously,” Pedroia said. “It goes over your head and that’s not really anything to mess around with. I don’t know why they would be throwing at me, if they were, especially in that situation. It’s a blowout. That’s fine.”
Pedroia was having a fairly big night up until that point, having doubled in his first at-bat, and then hitting the first opposite field home run of his life in the third inning for the game’s initial run.
So, did Pedroia think Melancon was throwing at him?
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s really not my concern. My concern is the way we’re playing. We’re not playing very good. I’m not going to say anything about that. We’ve got bigger issues to handle than a couple of balls getting away from a guy. We’ll come out tomorrow and play good.”
|08.07.09 at 12:24 am ET|
NEW YORK — Speaking after the Red Sox 13-6 loss to the Yankees, Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, David Ortiz admitted that the drama surrounding his quest to find out what he tested positive for in 2003 is weighing on him.
But, as Ortiz pointed out, he is hoping that the Saturday press conference which he will hold in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association will start putting some of the questions in the past.
“We’re going to figure things out and move on,” he said. “I’m not going to keep this in my head my whole career. It’s not like I have 10 years left, but it’s the kind of situation that gets you frustrated…I’m going to let you guys know what I’ve got, period.”
Ortiz went 0 for 5 and is currently 3 for 23 on the current road trip. At least some of the struggles, he said, can be attributed to the pressure put on by the revelation that he was one of the 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in ’03.
“Sometimes,” he said when asked if the news has become an albatross. “But I just don’t think about it, go back out there and fight.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling good. Things are happening, but I feel good. I don’t want to put too much in my head right, there’s no time for that. We’re running out of time.”
Ortiz was heartily booed by the sell-out Yankee Stadium crowd in each of his five at-bats, yet that part of the environment didn’t seem to put a dent in the slugger’s psyche.
“I don’t care. You get that every time you come to New York. Actually, this time it wasn’t like it (usually) is,” he said. “I was expecting something worse. I come out early to the field and you see the fans come right to me, even Yankees fans. ‘You’re the best.’ ‘Just hang in there.’ It’s all kind of the stuff you want to hear. That never changes.”
As for the plight of his team — which is now 3 1/2 games in back of the Yankees — Ortiz tried to reel in some of the panic.
“When you lose games of course you worry about we should have done better,” he said. “After you lose there’s nothing you can do but pick up your head and come back the next day and fight back.”
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