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Red Sox notes: Fenway Park undergoes changes including new infield, more netting, TV’s in dugouts 04.11.16 at 12:14 pm ET
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The Fenway Park infield looks a little different this year. (WEEI.com photo)

The Fenway Park infield looks a little different this year. (WEEI.com photo)

If Fenway Park looks a little different on Monday, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.

During the offseason the Red Sox put down a new infield where there is less dirt and more grass. This was due to the number of events Fenway Park hosted over the winter. The base cutouts are significantly smaller and there is less dirt in the outfield.

Manager John Farrell said before the team did it there were conversations with Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts who expressed some ways to improve the surface, which is challenging to keep up with given the cold April weather.

“With so many events last year [at Fenway Park], we were in the position to put down a new infield,” Farrell said. “At the time there was some discussion that went on internally if there were adjustments that we would like to make. Typically this has been an infield where there’s so much expansive dirt or exposed dirt. We looked around Major League Baseball, saw some different styles and just wanted to put a little bit more grass in for continuity of a ground ball.”

In addition to the infield, there will now be TV’s in each dugout viewing the bullpens. This is something more and more fields are doing around the league given how tough it can be to see the bullpens from the dugouts.

“It’s something we added this year — both sides have it just to be able to see more clearly who is getting loose rather than call upstairs or try and figure out who in fact is the next guy getting ready,” Farrell said.

Finally, as expected there is new netting going from dugout-to-dugout to help with fan safety given the few incidents that occurred at Fenway Park last season.

“We recognize our fans want to be uninterrupted in the action, but our priority and I think Major League Baseball’s priority is fan safety,” Farrell said. “We’re seeing it in every ballpark with the netting that is there. I think like many changes that you see around the league, we’re going to get accustomed to the netting there. We saw a pretty scary thing here and I don’t think any of us want to see that again. We feel like this will remedy some of those potential issues.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

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Read More: Brock Holt, David Ortiz, John Farrell,
David Ortiz has targeted who he wants as his heir apparent: Edwin Encarnacion 04.08.16 at 8:13 pm ET
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Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion

TORONTO — Will Edwin Encarnacion be the guy to replace David Ortiz in the Red Sox lineup in 2017?

It’s probably a long shot, but there’s somebody who wants it to happen — Ortiz.

“Hell, yeah. He’s a perfect replacement,” the Red Sox DH said when asked if he hopes takes his spot next season. Why? “Because of everything, but mostly because he can hit,” Ortiz added.

Encarnacion is slated to hit the free agent market after the 2016 season, having told the Blue Jays he isn’t interested in negotiating a new deal after spring training concluded.

The 33-year-old certainly would fit what the Red Sox are looking for when replacing Ortiz, who is slated to retire after the 2016 season. Since 2012, only Chris Davis has more home runs than Encarnacion, who has managed a combined .918 OPS during that stretch.

When asked about the prospects of playing for the Red Sox, Encarnacion smiled and then brought the conversation back to Ortiz.

“I don’t know what I can say about that,” he said. “I just can say that the career that David has had in Boston is unbelievable and something everybody is going to remember about him. He’s had an amazing career. He looks like he’s ready, too, this year. I’m happy for him.

“I just didn’t want to talk during the season, and concentrate on my team, winning games and my year. That’s why I told them I didn’t want to talk any more when the season started. I wanted to concentrate 100 percent, and I didn’t want any distractions talking about the contract. I wanted to enjoy my season and see what happens.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, Edwin Encarnacion,
David Ortiz on Opening Day homer: ‘When the light goes on, Papi goes on’ 04.05.16 at 9:47 pm ET
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Spring training? David Ortiz does not care about spring training.

The ageless Red Sox slugger started his final season with a bang on Tuesday, blasting a two-run homer in the ninth inning to salt away a 6-2 victory over the Indians.

The homer, the 504th of Ortiz’s career, came on the heels of a spring training that saw him hit just .178 with one home run. But once the games started counting for real, Ortiz delivered, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a long fly-out to the warning track in right on a ball Ortiz just missed.

“It’s the beginning of the season,” Ortiz told reporters in Cleveland. “When the light goes on, Papi goes on.”

The 40-year-old announced in November that 2016 will be his final season and he got out of the gates with his fifth Opening Day homer, the most of any active player. The blast came off a low fastball from Indians reliever Trevor Bauer.

“Got it out of the way early,” Ortiz said.

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Takeaways from Red Sox’ Saturday exhibition: ‘Dynamic,’ ‘different’ team concludes spring training 04.02.16 at 5:39 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

MONTREAL  — The Red Sox closed spring training 2016 on Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium with a 7-4 win over Toronto, finishing with an exhibition season record of 14-18-1.

Most of Boston’s starters, including David Ortiz, were pulled after two at-bats. Ortiz went 1-for-2 with a double, and declared both himself and the squad ready to go.

“Yeah, I’m good,” said Ortiz. “You know how I do it. Once I start facing pitchers every day it’ll click. I feel good. Offensively we’re going to be different than last year. Pitching-wise we’re going to be better than last year with the addition of David [Price] and [Craig] Kimbrel. I think our pitching staff is going to be totally different. Hopefully it’ll carry us over until the end of the season.”

Ortiz received multiple ovations from the seemingly pro-Blue Jays crowd over the two-day trip, and Ortiz tipped his helmet to the standing 53,420 in attendance as he entered the batter’s box in the first inning Saturday.

“It was nice,” said Ortiz of the crowd response. “I’ve never been able to play here in Montreal before. It’s an honor to be here. They watch TV I guess. But, thank you very much, you know, it was surprising and welcomed.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Ryan Hanigan, travis shaw
David Ortiz hits home run in final Grapefruit League at-bat 03.31.16 at 3:42 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thanks to David Ortiz, Josh Schoemann owns one of the most historic baseballs in Lee County history.

The Wisconsin native ended up in possession of David Ortiz’s fifth-inning home run during Thursday.

What made the ball special was the fact it represented the home run hit in what was Ortiz’s final Grapefruit League game ever. It was also fitting considering the blast — which came off Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson and sailed over the right-field wall — occurred against his old team in the city Ortiz had spent all 22 of his spring trainings.

“Maybe it’s a sign,” Ortiz joked after his exit from the spring training finale.

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David Ortiz on benched third baseman Pablo Sandoval: ‘From my standpoint, it was a surprise’ at 3:10 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz told Travis Shaw to approach this spring training like the most important of his career, and the youngster ended up winning the third base job from Pablo Sandoval.

That doesn’t make Ortiz any less surprised it actually happened.

Speaking after homering against the Twins in his final spring training game in Fort Myers, Ortiz said he didn’t expect Sandoval to lose his job.

“I kind of heard about it in batting practice,” he said. “It’s a real surprise. I guess it surprised you all, too. You would say that Panda is the starting third baseman, and he’s a guy that’s been working extremely hard this spring training. From my standpoint, it was a surprise.”

That said, Ortiz understand why the move was made, and he thinks Sandoval does, too.

“He’s hanging in there,” Ortiz said. “Just gave him the advice to keep working and control what he can control. He’s got no issues with Travis. Travis is a kid, he worked extremely hard, and it is what it is.”

For more coverage of Shaw beating out Sandoval, get Shaw’s perspective here, Sandoval’s here, and an examination of what it all means here.

Read More: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox, travis shaw
David Ortiz kicks off his retirement tour with street sign, golf cart 03.28.16 at 5:57 pm ET
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David Ortiz waves to the JetBlue Park fans as he exits the spring training stadium for the last time. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz waves to the JetBlue Park fans as he exits the spring training stadium for the last time. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Spring training is for practice, right?

Well, that’s exactly how one could view what transpired at JetBlue Park Monday when David Ortiz soaked in the first wave of retirement gifts thanks to a pregame ceremony, and subsequent golf cart ride off the field after the completion of the sixth inning.

Before the game, Ortiz was presented with a street sign for “David Ortiz Way,” along with seats from JetBlue Park, the Red Sox’ former spring training home, City of Palms Park, and the park housing the Twins down the street, Hammond Stadium.

Considering the stage had already been set with a huge “Thank you, David” sign across the top of the left field wall, and the No. 34 painted on each side of the field, the pregame presentation came as no surprise.

The twist arrived in the form of a tricked-out golf cart that included a stereo system, Dominican flag roof and Florida license plate that reads “Big Papi” on the back.

Considering Ortiz has been spending February and March in Fort Myers (with the Twins and Red Sox) for the past 22 years, the pomp and circumstance was somewhat understandable.

“It’s crazy,” Ortiz said. “I wasn’t expecting any of it but it happened. Whenever somebody comes to you with a gift, it’s always welcomed, right? The Red Sox and the city of Fort Myers, I really thank them for being so nice.”

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David Ortiz details how he wants final game as member of Red Sox to go 03.25.16 at 12:51 pm ET
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David Ortiz wants to win World Series this year, his final season. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz wants to win World Series this year, his final season. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz has announced he will retire after the 2016 season and the slugger wants to go out on top.

In an interview with WCVB’s Maria Stephanos, Ortiz detailed how he would like his final game as a member of the Red Sox to go.

“Hopefully my last game goes like this: Two outs, bottom of the ninth, Fenway Park, [Craig] Kimbrel pitching, strikeout, we win the World Series,” Ortiz said. “That is what I want in my last game.”

Ortiz, who turned 40 last November, admitted he will miss the game, but is at peace with his decision.

“That’s normal,” he said. “I’ve been doing this my whole life. One thing you have to remember is, it’s a short career. Listen, when you look at the career of Bobby Orr, when you look at the career of [Tom] Brady — all the great athletes, all those legends, you want those guys to continue to play because they are so much fun. But it doesn’t work that way.”

“I got peace,” Ortiz added.

As for what Ortiz might do after his career, he may not be going very far. Stephanos asked Ortiz if he will work for the Red Sox.

“Probably. Who knows,” Ortiz said with a smile. “It all depends, I’m not the owner. I’m just an employee.”

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David Ortiz: ‘I never really had that kind of confidence coming from my GM like I have now with Dave [Dombrowski]’ at 12:11 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz frequently brings up issues of respect — usually when he feels he’s not getting enough. This time, however, it’s in a positive way.

Speaking with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, Ortiz said he likes the way he’s been treated by Dave Dombrowski, who took over as president of baseball operations late last season.

“He’s trying to make everybody happy, because they know when you have people happy, it’s easier to get things done,” Ortiz said. “Dombrowski is a guy with a lot of experience and he knows how to deal with players. The minute he got here last year, he pulled me to the side and he built my confidence. That’s something I don’t think we really ever had. I’ve been here for the past 14 years and I’m not saying everybody needs to be the same, but I never really had that kind of confidence coming from my GM like I have now with Dave.

“He wants to know. He wants a guy like me to tell him what we need and what we’re comfortable with so he can execute it. They know what we need, but when you have that conversation and you share ideas with your players, it makes your players feel better, more confident and more comfortable about things.

“It was pretty much my first time a GM in this organization pulled me to the side and said, ‘I want to talk to you. I want to see what your thoughts are about this, this, this and that.’ It never happened before.”

Previous general managers Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington oversaw a total of three World Series championships during Ortiz’s tenure, but apparently they did not give him as much face time as Dombrowski.

“He kept me in the loop and asked me questions,” Ortiz said of his current boss approaching him for a discussion. “He made me feel important, more than ever. That was something because this organization, as long as I’ve played here, they would make a move but never would give me a heads-up. Never happened.

“[Dombrowski] was going to put things together to make me go home happy. That motivates you and want to be aware of things.”

Read More: Dave Dombrowski, David Ortiz,
Video: Carl Yastrzemski keeps close eye on David Ortiz 03.05.16 at 11:10 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz is entering 2016 on the verge of another milestone — moving into second place for the most home runs hit by a player in Red Sox uniform.

Ortiz stands just seven behind Carl Yastrzemski, who finished his career with 452 homers. The organization’s all-time leader is Ted Williams at 521.

On Saturday morning Yaz took a few moments to get a closer look at the man who most likely will be pushing him to third place.

Read More: Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz,
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