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Hanley Ramirez holds court on David Ortiz and Red Sox: ‘David, he left everything here’ 02.16.17 at 11:24 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez meets the media at the start of spring training on Thursday. (Rob Bradford/WEEI.com)

Hanley Ramirez meets the media at the start of spring training on Thursday. (Rob Bradford/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez misses David Ortiz, but he’s determined to honor the memory of his former teammate.

Making his first appearance of the spring at JetBlue Park, a muscular and fit Ramirez paid tribute to Ortiz while also making it clear the Red Sox must forge their own identity without him.

“I think David, what we did last year was really, really, really nice,” Ramirez said. “But we don’t have the championship. We’re here to win championships and we still have that bad taste in our throat. This year we’re going to go harder even more. Because we want to get the job done. David, he left everything here. We’re just going to keep grinding and let everybody know David was a winner, great teammate who kept everybody together and we’re going to do the same thing.”

For more on Ortiz, and why Ramirez says, “he’s my everything,” check out this story.

Meanwhile, Ramirez touched on a number of other subjects.

— On Pablo Sandoval: “Like I told him, out of five, six games, I just need two good games out of him, at least. We’ve just got to build his confidence back, let him know we got his back, we need him to win. We’re going to need him.”

— On advice Ortiz gave him about DHing for most of the season: “Do you really want to know what he told me? Someday you’re going to get crazy because all you can do is hit and when things are not going good, what can you do? You just go out there and try not to think about it until your next at-bat. Honestly he told me at first it’s going to be a little hard because when you can play defense you can help the team in two ways. But DH it’s pretty much just offense but I’ve just got to find a way to separate between those at-bats and cheer from the dugout.”

— On the team’s young stars, including Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Xander Bogaerts: “It’s unbelievable how good our young guys are. It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen something like it. Everyone has a routine. As soon as they go into the clubhouse, they’re doing something. They’re in the cage, they’re lifting. Everybody — Jackie, Bogey, Mookie, Benintendi. For us, it makes it easy in those moments. When we really need somebody [like Ortiz] is when we’re going through tough times. We need that guy to step it out and talk and let us know to keep our heads up.”

Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, he's my everything, Red Sox
Minus David Ortiz, Red Sox plan new approach to beating shift — more bunting 02.15.17 at 2:04 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With defensive shifts becoming so common they’re even used against pull-happy No. 9 hitters, the Red Sox plan to alter their offensive approach to beat them by going old-school and bunting.

Per Baseball Info Solutions, the Red Sox faced over 1,300 defensive shifts last year, seventh most in baseball. Almost a quarter of them (408) came against retired slugger David Ortiz, but he wasn’t alone. Jackie Bradley (224) was also shifted frequently, for instance, and manager John Farrell would like to see the team’s approach to such situations evolve.

“One of the things that we’ve really seen is that even with guys coming in the first part of their career, guys are really starting to get shifted against when we’re on offense,” Farrell said. “We’ve got some things that we’ll look to do to hopefully take back some of those lanes that are otherwise shifted away from. That’s just becoming more prevalent around the game. The bat-handlers that can work the ball the other way, or who are the guys that can more readily drop a bunt down to take advantage of that shift, that’s one thing that we’ll look to do more of.”

Before the stats-minded start howling reflexively about the evils of bunting, let’s make one thing clear — Farrell is talking about bunting for hits, not outs. The Red Sox recorded only eight sacrifices last year, and that approach is unlikely to change.

But it only makes sense that if the defense gives a hitter like Bradley the entire left side of the infield, a bunt in the vicinity of third base could equal a baserunner. That’s a shift in philosophy from Ortiz, who generally chose to swing away into the teeth of the shift for fear of costing himself and the team an extra-base possibility.

“The opposition may say, ‘Well, we’re fortunate we got a bunt so it’s working and we’re taking him out of his power swing,'” Farrell said. “But we’re seeing teams shift on guys that aren’t your prototypical power hitters. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit 25 [homers], but that’s kind of a breakthrough year for him. He’s a guy that, to me, we can look to take advantage of and work against the shift to hopefully open things back up for him.

“You’re seeing the shift on the bottom third of the order type hitters as well. So when it makes most sense, leading off an inning, late in a game when we’ve got to get something started, that’s the opportune time.”

Read More: David Ortiz, jackie bradley jr., John Farrell, Red Sox bunting
Dustin Pedroia says he’s completely healed from offseason knee surgery everyone forgot about 02.13.17 at 10:50 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox made the announcement via an October press release, and fans can be forgiven if it slipped their notice — second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent left knee surgery to repair a meniscus injury.

That’s the last we heard about the injury until Monday, when Pedroia arrived for spring training and declared himself ready to go.

“I did rehab stuff most of the offseason,” Pedroia said. “But you know, I feel great, normal, just like previous years. That’s it. I’m good.”

Pedroia reportedly injured the knee on Sept. 11 against the Blue Jays and his production suffered thereafter, though he only missed one game down the stretch. He hit .238 over his final 18 games before going 2-for-12 in the ALDS loss to the Indians.

Following the season, Dr. Peter Ansis performed a partial medial meniscectomy and chondroplasty.

This season marks a significant change for Pedroia, who turns 34 in August. For the first time since he joined the Red Sox after being drafted in 2004, he’s not sharing a clubhouse with David Ortiz, who retired after a walk-off season for the ages in 2016.

“It’s going to be different,” Pedroia said. “He’s been here every year I’ve been here. We have to just try to find a way to do things to overcome his absence. It’s going to be a team effort to do that and we’ll do it, and put the work in.”

Pedroia doesn’t expect to change in order to fill a leadership void.

“I don’t look at  it any differently than previous years,” he said. “You show up to win every day. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Obviously the guys know if they need anything, they can come to me or anybody. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia surgery, Red Sox spring training,
David Ortiz will have No. 34 retired by Red Sox in June, assuming he stays retired 01.26.17 at 12:03 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

The Red Sox announced on Thursday plans to retire David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday, June 23 before a game against the Angels.

Ortiz, who retired after a landmark 2016 season, is a 10-time All-Star who helped lead the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004, 2007, and 2013.

The team had already announced its intentions to retire his number before his final regular-season game.

Ortiz will join nine other Red Sox greats on the right field facade at Fenway Park: Bobby Doerr (1), Joe Cronin (4), Johnny Pesky (6), Carl Yastrzemski (8), Ted Williams (9), Jim Rice (14), Wade Boggs (26), Carlton Fisk (27), Pedro Martinez (45). Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired by Major League Baseball.

Will Ortiz stay retired, however? Martinez doesn’t think so. The Red Sox great told Trenni & Tomase last weekend at Foxwoods that he believes Ortiz will return mid-season.

“I still believe David is going to give it another try,” he said.

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox retired numbers,
Pedro Martinez on Trenni & Tomase: ‘I still believe David [Ortiz] is going to give it another try’ and return to baseball 01.21.17 at 9:58 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez

Still dreaming of David Ortiz rejoining the Red Sox? Perhaps this will make you feel better — Pedro Martinez believes it’s going to happen.

Speaking on the Trenni & Tomase program on Saturday from Foxwoods, where the Red Sox were holding their Winter Weekend, Martinez made it clear that he’s 100 percent skeptical of Ortiz’s decision to retire, and believes it’s only a matter of time before he laces up his cleats again.

“David says he’s retired,” Martinez said. “But I still believe David is going to give it another try. I don’t know why I have that feeling that David might want to do that. I just don’t see David, having the type of season that he had, and having the success that he was still having, sitting at home wasting it. David is too smart. I still believe David is going to feel the little itch of coming back to spring training.”

What gives Martinez such confidence in this bold prediction, which flies in the face of literally everything Ortiz has said since announcing his retirement before last season?

“Because imagine, I’m one of his closest friends,” Martinez said. “And I’m going to have to come to spring training, so he’s going to be left in the Dominican alone. I know that he needs some time off. If he stays at home with his wife, his kids, it’s going to get boring sooner or later, and I believe he’s going to come over.

“I think the toughest thing is going to be when he finds himself with so much time, and not having a regimen to follow,” Martinez added. “That’s going to be really difficult for David, a man that’s used to swinging the bat 500 times a day, mingling with his friends and teammates and all that. It’s just going to be difficult.”

Martinez knows how hard it is to walk away. He retired after pitching in the 2009 World Series for the Phillies and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer five years later.

“[Ortiz] always laughs when I tell him that comfy is not that simple,” Martinez said. “To just sit at home and see every other player, every other friend you have go away, and then you’re sitting at home and not having something to do, it’s really difficult to deal with.”

So what Martinez is saying is there’s a chance, then? He’s not closing the door on Big Papi pulling on No. 34 again?

“No. No, I’m not,” he said. “And I won’t. Until the year goes by, I won’t.”

Read More: David Ortiz, pedro martinez, Red Sox,
David Ortiz invoked in Jeff Sessions attorney general confirmation hearings 01.10.17 at 2:40 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz may be retired, but he hasn’t been forgotten on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Speaking at the confirmation hearings of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated for attorney general by President-elect Donald Trump, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse invoked Ortiz while questioning Sessions’ history of questionable racial positions.

“We have a vibrant Dominican community, who look at Big Papi, David Ortiz, swinging his bat for the Red Sox, and wonder why you said, ‘Almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us,'” said Whitehouse in reference to a 2006 speech that is available on Sessions’ official website.

In response to Whitehouse, Sessions explained that he was referring to the fact that most immigration is based on family connections, rather than proof of skills that could be useful in the U.S.

“The immigration flow from almost all of our countries, frankly, is based on family connection and other visas, rather than a skill-based program, more like Canada has today,” Session said. “And that’s all I intended to be saying there. . . . Please don’t see that as a diminishment or a criticism of the people of the Dominican Republic.”

Red Sox fans would certainly question Sessions’ opinions on the issue.

Read More: David Ortiz, Jeff Sessions, Senate confirmation hearings,
David Ortiz launches Red Sox fans into frenzy by cryptically tweeting at Boston Globe 01.09.17 at 11:31 pm ET
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Red Sox fans can’t quit David Ortiz. It’s understandable.

What makes far less sense is the frenzy Ortiz whipped them into on Monday night when he tweeted a blank message at the Boston Globe.

What did he mean to say? That he’s coming out of retirement to lead the Red Sox to one more World Series title? That he has decided to outlast Tom Brady? That he wants Isaiah Thomas to be an All-Star?

Or maybe it’s just that he never got his paper today.

We may never know, because despite over 600 retweets — as well as a response from the Globe reminding him, “You can tell us anything!” — Ortiz hasn’t clarified what he meant, if it was an accident, or what. Maybe he never will.

In any event, we breathlessly await an update.

p.s. He’s definitely staying retired. Let’s stop being a bunch of idiots.

Read More: Boston Globe, David Ortiz, Red Sox,
David Ortiz teases Red Sox fans with Instagram post hinting of rethinking retirement following Chris Sale trade 12.06.16 at 8:19 pm ET
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The news of the Red Sox trading for Chris Sale quickly spread around baseball on Tuesday, including to David Ortiz.

The former Red Sox designated hitter posted a picture on Instagram from the Red Sox’ account of Sale with the caption: My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?

Ortiz officially retired on Nov. 15 after the Red Sox exercised his $17.2 million option for 2017 earlier in the month.

My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?

A photo posted by David Ortiz (@davidortiz) on

Read More: David Ortiz,
Mookie Betts (MVP), Rick Porcello (Cy Young) named AL awards finalists; David Ortiz, John Farrell are not 11.07.16 at 7:27 pm ET
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Mookie Betts (right) is an MVP finalist, but the man he's high-fiving, David Ortiz, is not. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts (center) is an MVP finalist, but the man he’s high-fiving, David Ortiz, is not. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts could win his first MVP award in just his second full season. David Ortiz now knows he will never take home that hardware.

Major League Baseball announced its award finalists on Monday night, and a pair of Red Sox were represented.

Betts was named a finalist for MVP, while right-hander Rick Porcello is in the running for the Cy Young Award.

Betts, 24, will be joined by former winner Mike Trout, who has finished no worse than second in four previous seasons, as well as Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who won the batting title.

Those three squeezed out Ortiz, who finished his career with the greatest offensive walk-off season in history. Ortiz mashed 38 homers and drove in a league-leading 127 runs to claim the Hank Aaron Award, given to the best hitter in each league.

On the pitching side, Porcello is a finalist for the first time. He’ll be matched up with a pair of former winners — Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Porcello led the league with 22 wins and a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

On the manager side, Red Sox skipper John Farrell was not a finalist, beaten out by Cleveland’s Terry Francona, Baltimore’s Buck Showalter, and Texas’s Jeff Banister.

Read More: AL Cy Young, AL Manager of the Year, al mvp, David Ortiz
JetBlue names gate No. 34 after David Ortiz at Logan Airport 11.05.16 at 3:28 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

At this rate, everything in Boston is eventually going to be named for David Ortiz.

According to the Associated Press, Gate No. 34 at Logan Airport will be renamed in Ortiz’s honor by JetBlue. The announcement was made by a JetBlue employee during a party honoring the retired star in the Seaport District on Friday.

‘”You mean I’m going to have my own gate at the airport?” Ortiz said at the party. “You’re [messing] with me, aren’t you?”

Ortiz was named the best hitter in the American League after an historic walk-off season that saw him hit .315 with 38 homers and 127 RBIs.

Ortiz retires after 14 seasons with the Red Sox, who picked up his 2017 option, even though he has made it clear he’s not coming back.

Read More: David Ortiz, Gate 34, JetBlue, Red Sox
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