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Meet David Ortiz’s helping hand 09.28.16 at 11:51 am ET
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You probably won't see David Ortiz without his Hamsa necklace. (USA Today Sports)

You probably won’t see David Ortiz without his Hamsa necklace. (USA Today Sports)

He has worn the necklace virtually everywhere. Every game. Every appearance. Every time he walks out his front door.

You know the one, because it can’t be missed. That gold outstretched hand with the eye in the middle flailing around with each swing.

So, what is it? It turns out it’s called “Hamsa.”

“It’s for protection and good luck,” Ortiz said. “It’s for real. And when the eye comes out, it’s protecting me from something.”

Ortiz was turned on to the symbology earlier this year and took it to heart. Not only does he wear the necklace without fail, but since receiving the amulet as a gift, the Red Sox designated hitter has added a bracelet to the mix, along with a tattoo of the symbol on the back of his right hand.

The Middle Eastern tradition represents the hand of God, and even has it’s own prayer: “Let no sadness come to this heart; Let no trouble come to these arms; Let no conflict come to these eyes; Let my soul be filled with the blessing of joy of peace.”

So far, it’s worked for Ortiz.

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David Ortiz on D&H remembers Jose Fernandez: ‘That hit home for me big time’ 09.26.16 at 5:45 pm ET
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Sunday was a tragic day in the world of baseball as Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning in Miami. Before the Rays-Red Sox game there was a tribute to Fernandez on the video board where Ortiz was seen getting emotional.

On Monday, appearing on Dale & Holley, Ortiz offered how he will remember Fernandez and also explained how difficult Sunday was for him.

“That hit home for me big time,” Ortiz said. “I knew Jose a little bit. Great kid. Unbelievable person. Face of the game, definitely. He had so many years in front of him to do things — special things. Then this tragedy happened. All I could think about yesterday was him and his family. He’s got a baby on the way. His mom, his grandmother. The story behind being from Cuba. Yesterday during the game I couldn’t stop think about that. It’s something that we’re all feeling, especially when a good guy goes down like that. I come back to his family and all his friends around the world, Major League Baseball. I was super sad.

“I started thinking about it and I remember during the All-Star game he came up to me and was like ‘Hey, Papi.’ He was a very happy guy. ‘I’m going to have one jersey at my house and it’s yours. Your my favorite player.’ We started talking: ‘Hey, if I face you in this game, I am going to throw you my best fastball. Let’s see if you can hit it.’ We joked about it and talked about things. Very happy. Very humble kid. Sweet guy. In Miami, I talked to my fiends down there and everyone down in Miami is in absolute shock with his situation. It was hard, man. You know how they had the ceremony for me for the retirement, they asked me and I was like, ‘Man, it’s all about Jose today.’

“… It wasn’t a good day. It wasn’t a good day. By the time we were having the ceremony for Jose and when they were showing the stuff about him on the screen, I couldn’t help it. It was so sad. It was something — man, it hit me.”

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David Ortiz on D&H praises John Farrell, talks potentially winning MVP award in final season at 4:38 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz appeared on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show Monday to talk about a number of things including John Farrell and potentially winning American League MVP in his final season. To hear the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

Throughout the season many have questioned Farrell and his in-game decision making, but Ortiz completely backed his manager, saying he loves the way things are going right now.

“Man, John isn’t wasting time,” Ortiz said. “John, the way he’s managing the bullpen, the way he’s pulling with all of us, it’s perfect. It could get no better. He’s got everything under control really well. We’re so excited. We’re super happy the way he’s doing things right now. He’s not wasting time, any minute. I love the way he’s running this ballclub right now.”

Ortiz is currently tied for second in the American League in batting average, hitting .321, second in RBIs with 124 and leads all of baseball with a slugging percentage of .632. With the numbers he’s putting up, it’s no surprise he’s in the conversation for American League MVP in his final season.

The designated hitter says he doesn’t really care about it, as he’s focused on winning.

“I never really think of it because of all the crap and negativity [it] always brings along with,” Ortiz said. “I have had MVP numbers before and just because I don’t play defense they always down me. They have to always head in a different direction. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, I’m not really going to go crazy about it. I care about winning and winning another World Series. Those are the things I really care about because personal numbers are always going to be personal numbers.”

Being 40 years old and playing in 145 games, Ortiz admitted he isn’t 100 percent health wise, but is ready for the postseason.

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Closing Time: David Ortiz homers again, bullpen makes it stand in 2-1 victory over Rays 09.23.16 at 10:03 pm ET
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Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (right) hugs Hanley Ramirez after slamming a two-run homer on Friday in Tampa. (Kim Klement-USA Today Sports)

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (right) hugs Hanley Ramirez after slamming a two-run homer Friday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The David Ortiz Show keeps getting better and better.

On a night when the Red Sox offense didn’t do much with Rays starter Chris Archer or the Tampa Bay bullpen, Ortiz gave the Red Sox all the runs they would need with a mammoth two-run homer in the first that proved decisive in a 2-1 victory.

The Red Sox won their season-high ninth straight game and lowered their magic number to clinch the division title to four. They maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over the Blue Jays, who beat the Yankees.

Ortiz, who will retire at the end of the season, is going out with a bang. He added a single that originally was a double before replay changed it, and finished the game hitting .319 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs, numbers that will be sure to earn him MVP consideration.

All in a night’s work for the ageless slugger, who remains the most feared bat in the Red Sox lineup.

Ortiz’s homer made a winner of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who allowed four hits and a solo homer in five innings. Pomeranz, who hadn’t won in five starts since beating the Tigers on Aug. 20, was lifted after 78 pitches.

The bullpen took over from there. Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes, and Robby Scott combined to get the Red Sox to the ninth inning. With Koji Uehara and closer Craig Kimbrel unavailable, right-hander Brad Ziegler nailed down his fourth save with the Red Sox, stranding the tying run at second after a leadoff double.

Offensively, the other star of the game was MVP candidate Mookie Betts, who went 3-for-4 with a walk.

Closing Time note

Scott continues to impress. The rookie left-hander retired the only man he faced to end the eighth with the tying run on base. He now has started his career with five straight scoreless outings.

Read More: David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz, Rays, Red Sox
Curt Schilling on K&C: Red Sox likely will offer to make David Ortiz highest-paid player ever, but, ‘It’s not like he needs the money’ 09.21.16 at 10:08 am ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Making his weekly appearance on Kirk & Callahan on Tuesday morning, Curt Schilling said he expects the Red Sox will attempt to lure David Ortiz back for another season but the slugger isn’t likely to return. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.

Ortiz continued his torrid summer Tuesday night in Baltimore, hitting a three-run home run as the Red Sox won their sixth straight game. Ortiz is batting .318/.403/.634 with 36 home runs and 121 RBIs. He leads the league with 47 doubles and a 1.037 OPS.

However, the 40-year-old also has been dealing with foot issues and has said he’s been playing with pain.

“Getting ready to play this game is a 12-month-a-year job,” Schilling said. “And at some point you get to the point where … it’s not like he needs the money.”

Added Schilling: “I don’t believe [he’ll return], given what I know about his feet and how bad they’ve been since, well, since ’04. It’s not a matter of giving him a couple of days off. They hurt when he plays. And that doesn’t matter if it’s a day, a week, or three days a week, or five days a week.”

That said, Schilling expects the Red Sox to at least make an attempt to convince the designated hitter to consider one more year.

“I think Mr. Henry’s going to do it. I think they’re going to make him an offer that’s going to make him the highest-paid player ever for a year,” Schilling said. “I don’t think David will do it, but stranger things have happened.”

Ortiz has been feted at almost every ballpark he’s visited this year, putting even more on his plate.

“We were texting the other night, and that’s been draining,” Schilling said. “I’ve always felt like this is not a financial decision. None of this is going to be financial for him. It comes back to quality of life kind of thing. And it’s not the playing. Listen, he’s having the greatest go-away season in the history of sports. It’s not the game itself. If it was just the game, guys would play a lot longer than they do. It’s the months and the hundreds of thousands of hours in the wintertime when no one’s watching and the camera’s not on and you’re by yourself. If you can’t do that and you have pride, which he does, you know when it’s time.”

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David Ortiz hits 35th home run of season, extends Red Sox lead 09.19.16 at 8:34 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — There might only be a few regular-season games left in David Ortiz’s career, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down as the finish line draws near.

The latest feat in Ortiz’s historic final season came Monday night at Camden Yards when the designated hitter launched his 35th homer of the season. The fifth-inning blast over the right field wall scored Dustin Pedroia and increased the Red Sox’ lead to 5-1 over the Orioles.

It was Ortiz’s seventh homer against the O’s, matching the most the 40-year-old as ever hit in one season against Baltimore (with the other seven-homer campaign coming in 2013).

Ortiz has 53 home runs against the Orioles, the third most by any opponent. Only Harmon Killebrew (68) and Alex Rodriguez (69) have more.

Ortiz has homered in five of his last eight games at Camden Yards, having gone deep 10 times in his last 16 trips to the home of the O’s. Since 2012, Ortiz has hit 15 homers in 34 games here.

Prior to the Ortiz homer, the Red Sox already had utilized the long ball to get the better of Orioles starter Dylan Bundy, with Mookie Betts launching a two-run home run to kick off the scoring in the third inning. It was Betts’ eighth homer at Camden Yards this season the most by a visiting player since the Orioles moved to Baltimore in 1954.

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Red Sox lineup: Doubles machine David Ortiz gets night off as Sox look to complete sweep of Yankees 09.18.16 at 6:42 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz has earned a night off.

The Red Sox DH, originally penciled in for the entire Yankees series, will skip Sunday’s finale to rest up for a four-game series with the Orioles that starts on Monday. He served as honorary captain at the Patriots-Dolphins game in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon.

“When I talked with David after Friday night’s game, in large part because of the number of times he was on base and the extent to which he ran, with a quick turnaround on Saturday, we talked about the upcoming two days — yesterday and today,” manager John Farrell said. “With the late-night arrival, likely four right-handed starters in Baltimore, felt like this was the day to give him down.”

Ortiz leads the league in doubles with 47, a feat Farrell considers even more impressive than his 34 homers.

“I would say, yes,” Farrell said. “Fortunately here, I don’t know how many have been ground-rule where he’s jogging into second base, but it was before the All-Star break where you look up and he’s already in the low 30s, and at that point you look up and it’s a little bit of a head-scratcher. To see that number of doubles hit in this, what would be his last year, that’s a crazy amount if you ask me. A crazy amount. He’s got a chance to have 50-plus doubles, 35-plus home runs. That’s a career for a lot of guys.”

Here’s the Red Sox lineup, with Drew Pomeranz facing Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.

Pedroia 2B
Bogaerts SS
Betts RF
Ramirez DH
Young LF
Shaw 1B
Hill 3B
Bradley Jr. CF
Holaday C

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David Ortiz second-guessing decision to announce retirement before season 09.17.16 at 3:45 pm ET
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A winter jacket from the Blue Jays was one of the many gifts bestowed upon David Ortiz this season. (John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports)

A winter jacket from the Blue Jays was one of the many gifts bestowed upon David Ortiz this season. (John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports)

The 34 home runs. Not going on the disabled list all year. Simply having perhaps the best season ever by a retiring player. All impressive.

But what has been truly mind-blowing is David Ortiz’s ability to handle the requests of all those wanting one final piece of David Ortiz. It started on the first day of spring training, kicked up steam during Fort Myers’ golf cart presentation, and hasn’t stopped for a minute.

Gifts. Interviews. Public appearances. You name it. With just a couple of weeks left in the regular season, Ortiz can reflect on a sometimes uncomfortable challenge for his final season.

“No clue,” Ortiz told WEEI.com when asked if he had any idea the demands would be like this prior to the season. “But if I knew I would have probably announced it after the season. But it’s all good. At least we’ve been able to give the fans what matters the most, the opportunity to watch me play for the last time.”

“No, I haven’t, which I think is totally related to how well he’s performed this year, and also how accommodating he’s been to the media,” said Red Sox media relations director Kevin Gregg when asked if he has seen anything like the amount of requests given to Ortiz this season. “The thing with him is that it’s not just local media. It’s local, national and international. It’s been a ton.”

The last week or so has offered a microcosm of what Ortiz has had to deal with. In each of the Red Sox’ last three road stops — Oakland, San Diego and Toronto — the demands for the designated hitter’s time was non-stop. And being the last visits to those places, it only made it worse.

So by the time the Red Sox faced off with the Yankees this weekend, Ortiz knew enough to lay as low as possible.

“He knows when to shut down,” Gregg said. “He knows the media has a job to do and he does the best to help. Sometimes he needs to balance the preparation for baseball over what he’s doing for the media.”

“We’ve all come to know David, he’s a got an uncanny ability to, I don’t know whether you want to say compartmentalize,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “It’s almost like he operates best when there’s so many different things going on. He’s got a lot going on. He’s earned it. To watch him be able to focus in to get four or five at-bats, individual events, it’s pretty remarkable. On night games, he walks in at 12:30 in the afternoon and there’s a lot going on with him with some of the other things as it relates to his career, the final season, a number of personal things that he has going on. But he finds a way to balance it all and has not skipped a beat when it comes to the bottom-line numbers.”

Or, as Ortiz explained it, “There has been a lot. When I’m locked in playing the game I don’t worry about anything but playing the game.”

Ortiz has found a way to prioritize, which has been evident in the ability to stay health and produce on the field. But he also admits that it hasn’t been easy, a reality that, on Sept. 17, only becomes more evident. It’s another reason why those hoping for another season shouldn’t hold their breath.

“I don’t know how I’ve done it, but I have,” Ortiz explained. “I just don’t think I could put up with this again. I just can’t wait for this to be over because I’m pretty tired. Everybody wants a piece of you. But it’s all good.”

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Rays could be changing minds on only doing small David Ortiz video tribute at 8:49 am ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

It looks like the Rays have changed their minds.

On Friday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the Rays weren’t planning any special ceremony for David Ortiz’s last game there next weekend, rather just a short video tribute to be shown prior to the second inning in next Sunday’s series finale.

Now, it looks like that won’t be the case.

“We have the outline of a plan for next Sunday, and we’re waiting for the players to come home so that we can get their input before finalizing the details,” team president Brian Auld said to Topkin later on Friday.

Evan Longoria seems to be one player who would like there to be more than just a small video tribute, as every other team has had a small pregame ceremony and presented him with gifts, or donations to his charity.

“Obviously we would like to do something for (Ortiz),” Longoria said. “I have no answer if that means something monetarily as a donation to his foundation, if that means a gift, I don’t know yet.

“I guess we will get together with Brian and see what makes the most sense. The players want to do something for him. We’ll figure out the best way to accomplish that so we feel like we’ve done it the right way.”

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez continues hot streak, Clay Buchholz picks up win as Red Sox beat Yankees 09.16.16 at 10:24 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez homered again on Friday against the Yankees. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez homered again on Friday against the Yankees. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox appear to be in a good position for the final 15 games of the season.

Led by Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, and Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Red Sox beat Yankees 7-4 Friday night at Fenway Park.

They now lead the Yankees by six games in the AL East and Orioles by two games as they came from behind to beat the Rays. The Blue Jays are playing the Angels late on the West Coast.

The Red Sox carried over their momentum from Thursday night into the first inning on Friday as they scored two runs. David Ortiz had an RBI single off the Green Monster, but was thrown out at second base and then Ramirez singled up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.

“We came out aggressive, not only in terms of the way we swung the bats, but we pressed the issue on the bases,” manager John Farrell said. “It didn’t always work in our favor, but I think it set the tone early on. We were able to follow it up with some quality at-bats. [Luis] Cessa did settle down a little bit, but we had a couple of really good situation hitting opportunities. Travis [Shaw] with the sacrifice fly, Mookie [Betts] pushing a base hit through the right side, and David [Ortiz], Hanley [Ramirez], once again, the middle of that order has been powerful and it has been consistent.”

Ramirez kept his hot streak going as he crushed a solo homer in the fourth inning to almost the exact same spot as his walk-off on Thursday to put the Red Sox in front 3-0 at the time. Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon each added RBIs before Bradley Jr. hit a solo homer in the seventh.

Buchholz wasn’t perfect by any means, but was able to make key pitches when he needed to as he escaped a few jams. The right-hander went six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two. It was his seventh win of the year.

He’s given the team two outstanding starts in his last three outings with Steven Wright down and possibly out for the year.

“I don’t know that you can place a true value on it. He’s come up big,” Farrell said. “With the exception of one start, he’s been six innings and low runs, even no runs allowed. He looks comfortable on the mound. The pitching from the stretch has been a major adjustment for him to allow for some consistency, particularly with men on base. That’s where the location of pitches has probably its greatest meeting and that’s where it showed up here tonight.”

The Yankees went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Robbie Ross Jr. (2/3 of an inning), Brad Zieger (1/3 of an inning), Koji Uehara (one inning) were excellent in relief as they didn’t allow a run in two innings of work, but Fernando Abad had issues in the ninth as he allowed a two-run homer to Billy Butler forcing Craig Kimbrel to come on for the final two outs.

Closing Time note

Ramirez has six home runs in his last nine games, nine in his last 16, and 10 in his last 19.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win.

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