|A motivated David Ortiz||11.19.09 at 1:12 pm ET|
David Ortiz met with the media in the interview room at Fenway Park Thursday afternoon to talk about his upcoming Second Annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic, along with the event’s auction, both of which will benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. (The charity provides children in New England and the Dominican Republic access to the pediatric critical care they need for full and productive lives.)
Ortiz also touched on a variety of subjects, including one he brought up at a similar press conference at this time last year — whether or not the Red Sox need another big bat in the middle of their lineup. Last year Ortiz went on record as saying it should have been a priority. This time around?
“I say that like a year ago and everybody looked at me like I was a [expletive] clown. I say, ‘We need another 30-home-run-hitting guy.’ ‘What, you crazy!’ Everybody talking trash. Now what?” Ortiz said. “Everybody will always welcome a 30-home-run-hitting player. Every time, every situation. You want to compete with those guys across the street, you better bring it, period.”
The question was then asked if the acquiring a middle-of-the-order back would remain of the utmost importance even if the Red Sox re-sign Jason Bay.
“I’m going to leave that up to you. You’re the one with the power of the pen,” Ortiz said. “We always need help. We always need guys capable to produce. That’s what everybody chase in the offseason, a guy who can come in and supply powers, RBIs. This is a team that’s playing in this division. Everything is powerful right here. You’ve got the world champions in the East. You’ve got Tampa Bay in the East. You’ve got the Blue Jays getting stronger every year in the East. You’ve got Baltimore who you don’t know if they’re going to come kick your [butt] all year round in the East. So, you better get ready to play in the East.”
One subject that Ortiz also talked about at length was his approach to this offseason, which will include him starting hitting nearly two months earlier than last year. The designated hitter will head to the Dominican Republic Friday to continue his workouts, which he explained will be similar to the offseasons when he wasn’t hampered by injury.
“I always do that,” Ortiz said. “I try and get myself exercising. I’m a big guy. I’m a guy who no way can sit down and watch TV and eat. I hate to come the following year and people start to say I’m overweight, not in shape, and too old. You have to take responsibility in whatever you do, and especially at your job. I know that I don’t want to be going through that. I just maintain myself, working out, doing things, burning calories, trying to stay in good habits so when you come to the hard work the following year, it’s easy.”
Something he wanted to make clear, however, was that is commitment to his health had nothing to do with the fact that he is going into the last guaranteed year of his contract.
“I always look at my last year like my first one because what I’m doing right now I’m doing every year. I don’t want you guys to think I’m doing what I’m doing right now because it’s the last year of my contract and I’ve got to put it together,” he said. “No, I do this every year. Every year after the season I continue working because I want to bring my best to the field.”
As for Ortiz’ reaction to Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein’s comments after the season that the team needed the DH — who turned 34 years old Wednesday — the player seemed to have little concern.
“I’ve always been a force here. I’ve always been the guy that this ballclub counts on. I know that for a fact. I’m going to prepare myself and come back and try to do it again,” Ortiz explained.
“This year is going to be the one year where is going to be a lot of expectations around here. I hear a lot of people talking about this ballclub needs to get younger, this ballclub needs to this, this ballclub needs to do that. As long I know the Red Sox, the Red Sox have had veteran players around. You never have a team out there under the [average] age of 30, that I remember. I’m not saying having young players around is a bad thing, but veteran players know how to deal with pressure and things like that.
“Comments doesn’t make anything better. What you do will make things better … I’m just going to go back to the basics. What I normally like to do. One thing nobody can take away from you is your bat. If anybody takes my bat away from me, I won’t be able to play because that’s the only thing I do.”
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