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David Ortiz: ‘I enjoy baseball now. What a difference.’

03.03.11 at 4:15 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Speaking prior to the Red Sox‘ spring training game against the Phillies Thursday at City of Palms Park Thursday, David Ortiz explained that a big reason for his early success is that his “mind is free right now.” The Sox’ designated hitter went on to explain that he prioritized taking care of “personal stuff” in the offseason so that nothing would be a distraction heading into 2011.

“I haven’t felt like this for a while,” he told WEEI.com. “There were a lot of things that I had to correct, and I did in the offseason.

“It wasn’t anything related to baseball. When you’re playing baseball you can’t be thinking about some other things. Baseball is a very complicated business so you have to make sure your mind is clear so you can think about what you’re doing. So this offseason I tried to fix everything that I could think of.”

Ortiz, who came into Thursday’s game having gone 5-for-8 with a home run but went 0-for-3 against the Phillies, wouldn’t specify what alterations he made in the offseason, simply saying, “I just needed to dedicate time to it. By the time I got to Fort Myers I had peace of mind.”

The DH explained that he has continued to be distraction-free, noting while talking that he didn’t even have his cell phone near him, a departure from his usual morning clubhouse routine.

“I can enjoy baseball now. What a difference,” he said. “I don’t even have my cell phone with me. That’s your No. 1 enemy, your cell phone.

“People sometimes don’t realize we have another life outside of baseball, and that life needs to be taken care of. You have family, you have kids, you have friends. A lot of stuff.

“In a situation like ours sometimes you don’t pay attention to little things and they accumulate slowly. It’s like when you have a car and the mirror breaks. You say you’ll fix that later. Then the window breaks, and you say I’ll fix that later. Then the next thing you know, the engine is screwed up. Next thing you know you have 20 things to fix at once, but you don’t have time to fix all 20 things. You’ve been accumulating things for years and then next thing you know you’ve got all that on top of you. Then people look at you and it seems you have a big old monkey on your back. Not anymore.”

For more spring training coverage, see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

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