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Ortiz the healthy one

09.29.09 at 5:44 am ET
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Through all the talk of bruises, bumps, shots and spasms, David Ortiz sits in the Red Sox clubhouse living an entirely different life than he was a year ago.

The playoffs are upon us and Ortiz is healthy. Times have certainly changed.

“After I came back last year my hand still felt weird. I don’t remember a day when I felt good,” Ortiz said. “And the cold weather didn’t help. But I’m fine now. My knee. My wrist. Everything is fine. I feel good.”

The latest example of how good Ortiz feels came when he hit his 28th homer of the season in the Red Sox’ loss Monday night, a solo shot in the sixth inning. It was his sixth homer of September, matching his output in the season’s final month a year ago. But, as he explained, there is no comparison when looking at the pair of stretch drives.

“I feel good,” he said. “Last year I had to deal with my wrist. It was a [expletive], especially when it got cold and it got tight. It was not fun. But now I feel good.”

Even before the Red Sox’ loss to Toronto there was no secret to how good Ortiz felt. Not only has he hit .284 with a .568 slugging percentage in September (numbers that almost add up to his combined totals for April and May), but since his low point on June 1 (.185 batting average), Ortiz has produced as well as almost anybody in baseball.

Using the first day of June as a jumping-off point, Ortiz has more RBI (77) than Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, and the fourth-most homers of any player in baseball (27). And it’s a streak that, thanks in part to the designated hitter’s health, doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

“I was fine [during the slump]. My problems were more mental and mechanical than anything else. But body-wise, I was fine,” explained Ortiz, whose 41 walks and 12 homers in the postseason since 2003 is second only to Manny Ramirez. “I try to get it done. In the playoffs you have a small amount of chances to get it done, but it can happen. I think I’ve done OK in the playoffs.”

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