David Ortiz: ‘Guys my age are supposed to be complementary players’
|03.13.14 at 9:30 am ET|
After his stellar 2013 season capped by an MVP performance in the World Series, David Ortiz knows what to expect from pitchers: respect in the form of being pitched around.
Ortiz said he is feeling the pressure to be the spark in the batting order, especially with the team parting ways with Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and failing to produce a young slugger to draw some of the attention.
“I’m going to have even more [responsibility] than what I normally have, which is not fair because I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “I’m always going to need help. I’m 38 years old and I’m still the center of attention in the lineup. It shouldn’t be like that. It shouldn’t be like that. We should have a couple of studs in their 20s doing more than what I do.
“It’s not always going to be about me. I saw last year. Last year, game on the line, late in the game, go to first base. They pitch around you to see if you chase. Nope? Go to first base. I’ve been through that since Day 1. But last year was even more different. How long am I going to be able to do what I do and be that locked? I don’t know. It wears you out — in my case, I know I do nothing but hit, but to stay that focused and not try to get out of the strike zone.”
Added Ortiz: “I’ll give it a try, but I don’t think there’s a baseball player that has lived through this pressure at my age. Think about it. Guys my age are supposed to be complementary players. Nobody signs guys my age to be ‘The Man.’ If you look at every team, ‘The Man’ are guys in their prime. Because it’s hard. It’s hard. I don’t take anything for granted. I go at it every day. But living through the pressure, having to be the man every day, at this stage, when everybody is asking you when you’re going to retire …”
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