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Red Sox pregame notes: David Ortiz finds little satisfaction in milestones; Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli day-to-day

08.21.14 at 6:59 pm ET
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It was another impressive night for David Ortiz on Wednesday in the midst of what has been yet another impressive season for the Red Sox‘ slugger.

Ortiz was 4-for-4 with three singles and hit his 30th home run of the season, was set for his fifth at-bat in the Sox’ 8-3 loss to the Angels Wednesday night.

Instead, up came Alex Hassan.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game Ortiz was dealing with some “general soreness” after spending most of his night on the base paths. On Thursday, Farrell said the decision to pinch-hit for Ortiz was meant to “get him off his feet.”

According to Farrell, Ortiz is out of the lineup for Thursday’s series finale against the Angels on a planned off day with the Sox in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days. He said Ortiz’s removal from Wednesday’s game and his status Thursday is unrelated.

“We’ve got a scheduled off day next Thursday prior to opening up a series in Tampa, so rather than running him a stretch of 17 consecutive, that’s where today comes in,” Farrell said. “But there are some periodic off days throughout September that we’ll have a chance to catch up on.”

Ortiz is 14-for-26 (.538) with five multi-hit games through the first seven games of the Sox’ 11-game homestand. Thursday’s homer marked his eighth 30-home run season, tying him with Ted Williams for the most in Red Sox history.

Even as Ortiz reaches remarkable milestones — and in the midst of a year where he could become the second player in baseball history to lead his league in RBIs despite being on a club that ranks last in the league in runs scored (Ortiz leads the majors with 93 RBIs, while the Sox are last in the AL in scoring; only Wally Berger of the Boston Braves, in 1935, accomplished that feat) — he can only take limited satisfaction in his performance given the Sox’ last-place standing.

“It’s not where you want to be. You always come in, every year, prepared to play, do your best and hopefully you keep competing for something,” said Ortiz. “It kind of sucks that you didn’t put up a good season and you’ve got to go home.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– Farrell said third baseman Will Middlebrooks is available to play Thursday despite being out of the lineup for the second straight night. Middlebrooks left Tuesday’s game with tightness in his hamstring.

– Mike Napoli is also out of the lineup for the second straight night while dealing with back spasms.

“[Napoli] is still receiving some treatment,” Farrell said. “I’ll get a better read on that once we get closer to game time.”

– The Sox optioned Hassan back to Pawtucket to make room for Allen Craig on the roster.

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