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Larry Lucchino on D&C: Implying David Ortiz might have used PEDs ‘extremely unfair’

05.16.13 at 9:12 am ET

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday to talk about the Sox’ recent struggles, the David Ortiz controversy and Jacoby Ellsbury‘s slow start.

Even with Wednesday night’s 9-2 victory over the Rays, the Red Sox have lost nine of their last 12 games.

“You can go through bad patches throughout the season. Even when you win championships, teams go through bad patches,” Lucchino said. “I can’t think of many teams, except maybe the ’84 Tigers, the ’98 Yankees, that sort of avoided — at least as best as I can can recall — avoided any kind of bad periods during the course of a season. Even the winning teams are going to lose six or seven in a row a couple of times during the year.

“There’s an inevitability to this. We’ve just got to maintain some perspective and some patience with it and do everything we can to ride through those times. To think we’re going to avoid them entirely is just not realistic.”

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy recently asked Ortiz if performance-enhancing drugs could have played a role in his fast start this season, and then he wrote a column on the subject. Lucchino blasted the writer for the piece.

“As a general proposition, I think hard questions can be raised by the media on that subject,” Lucchino acknowledged. “In particular, I thought the presentation of the response presumed a guilt that was utterly inappropriate. David’s been tested at least six or seven times already this year. We’re talking about urine tests and blood tests. We’re probably talking about hundreds of tests over the last decade. And to ignore that body of evidence and to presume instead a presumption of guilt I thought was extremely unfair.”

In the article, Shaughnessy made reference to the fact that a number of Dominican players have been suspended for PEDs, leading to a strong response from Ortiz and the organization.

“I thought that was a little bit of an ethnic stereotyping of the worst sort,” Lucchino said. “I thought that was unfortunate, to be polite here.”

Added Lucchino: “I don’t remember the article. Shaughnessy’s stuff tends to flow right through my mind and I won’t let it occupy very much gray matter if I can. So, I don’t remember if he referred to it once or twice. However many times he did, it was outrageous, in my opinion.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On Ellsbury’s slow start: “I’m a little surprised at the start Jacoby’s gotten off to. But once again — and I’m sorry to resort to this cliche all the time — it is only mid-May. ‘€¦ I haven’t lost faith in Jacoby Ellsbury. We are a different team when he is hitting and running and playing defense the way he is capable of playing. You’re not going to hear me say anything very critical of Jacoby Ellsbury. I love this team when he is hitting and playing on all cylinders.”

On the team’s attempts to get Daniel Bard back to form: “The general plan is one of patience. Daniel has tremendous talent, he’s shown that at the big league level. You don’t need to be a pitching guru to appreciate the kind of pitcher that he once was. We think he can regain that. But it’s going to take some patience, it’s going to take some specialized tutoring and attention. I hope he can bounce back. There’s plenty of room in our bullpen for him.”

On if the Sox would consider changing their fiscal approach considering the struggles of high-payroll teams such as the Blue Jays, Dodgers and Angels: “There is a kind of parity that has emerged in baseball in the last decade or so that’s undeniable. I think that there are going to be clubs with high payrolls that aren’t going to win and clubs with low payrolls that are going to win. Those are just facts of life in the new baseball regime. We have the wherewithal financially because of the support of our fans to be at the upper end of the payrolls in baseball, and that’s where we intend to be, so long as we are supported as we have been supported. So, that’s the way we’re going to run our team. Everything we do is about winning. We try to raise the revenue in order to have enough money to have a strong payroll. We don’t want to be an exception. We don’t want to be a club that just puts it together because they get lucky with a low payroll. That’s not the kind of support we have from our fans, and that’s not what we’re considering as a course of action.”

Read More: Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Larry Lucchino
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