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Tom Werner on OM&F: Disappointed when seeing Pablo Sandoval 02.23.16 at 2:29 pm ET
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Red Sox chairman Tom Werner joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to discuss the team, specifically Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

The big topic the past few days with the team has been Sandoval’s weight. Werner spoke to a group of reporters prior to the radio interview and was asked to share his thoughts on the matter.

“As I think Dave and John have said, this is a man who has performed at the highest level,” Werner said to reporters in Fort Myers. “He knows what it takes to be successful. He’€™s won three World Series. He’€™s a World Series MVP. I think they’€™ve handled it well internally. From my own perspective and the organization’€™s perspective, what he does starting April 3 is what’€™s important.”

A short time later on the radio, he seemed to have a different tune on the matter when asked directly if he was disappointed when seeing the third baseman this spring.

“Yes, I was,” Werner said. “But I think the most important thing, and I think we’d all agree on this, is how is he going to be on April 4th and how is he going to be on May 4th? Certainly there have been some private conversations that have been had between Pablo and Dave Dombrowski and John Farrell and I would like to say as somebody who knows Pablo, he has a tremendous work ethic. We’re not talking about an average player. We’re talking about a player who has won three World Series’, been a World Series MVP and he wants to excel this year.

“If he had a bad year last year I think we can chalk some of that to the challenge of coming into a new division and a new league. I know that he is going to be prepared on Opening Day and then I think this story will have died out and there probably will be another 25 other storylines.”

Added Werner: “He’s never been sort of been a poster child for Men’s Health or GQ, but neither was Tony Gwynn or Kirby Puckett and I prefer to think this is a little blip and he’s obviously had some private conversions. I would like to stand on the fact that he has tremendous work ethic and he wants to prove to everybody that he is going to be a great asset to the Red Sox going forward. We’re just going to leave it at that.”

The Red Sox chairman was also asked about David Ortiz and his retirement after this season. Werner said he was surprised when first hearing the news.

“I was surprised by it,” he said. “Some people thought we might have engineered it, which wasn’t true. We honor it. We respect his decision and sometimes a player wants to go out on top and he’s had a magnificent career. It would be nice if he could win a fourth World Series for the Red Sox, but he’s done so much in his career.

“I know the wear and tear. We all know the wear and tear of performing at a high level day in and day out. David has had a lot of ailments that come with growing up and growing a little bit older. It’s a struggle to maintain that high intensity day in and day out and I respect his decision.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Tom Werner,
Dustin Pedroia checks into camp, discusses Hanley’s work ethic, wearing long pants, David Ortiz in Italy 02.22.16 at 11:02 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia has a simple explanation for why he didn’t arrive to Red Sox camp earlier.

“I don’t show up when we wear shorts,” he said. “This isn’t softball. We wear pants. I’ll come when we wear pants and go to work.”

Sporting a full beard and checking in for the start of his 11th season in Boston, Pedroia held court on a number of topics. A summary:

— Pedroia is confident that Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, two targets of fan ire, will bounce back.

“Listen, this is a tough place to come in and hit .330. The expectations, sometimes you can’t live up to them. You just have to be yourself. They will. It takes time. They’ve got to realize that we’re all in this together and we’re trying to win the World Series. That’s all we can do is have each other’s backs, go out there and work hard every day and try to get better every day.”

— He expects Ramirez to work hard in his transition to first base.

“Every position on the field is important defensively. This is the Major Leagues. If you have a hole out there, everyone is trying to find it. I think it’s our responsibility, Hanley, it’s first pretty tough to change positions. He went from shortstop to left, and left field now to first base. You’ve got to put the work in and we’re all here to help him and do what we can to make him as comfortable as possible but he’ll be fine. He’s going to put the time in and put the work in and we’ll be fine.”

— Pedroia has no physical limitations after missing most of the second half with a bad hamstring. “I’m ready to go out and do whatever I’m asked.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, David Price, Dustin Pedroia,
Twins GM Terry Ryan on releasing David Ortiz: ‘Obviously it was a mistake . . . and Boston’s gain’ 02.04.16 at 2:19 pm ET
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Terry Ryan is one of the most respected general managers in baseball, but even the best make mistakes.

The Twins GM’s is obvious: David Ortiz.

Before the 2003 season, Ryan famously released Ortiz in order to take shortstop Jose Morban in the Rule 5 draft. With Ortiz winding down a potential Hall of Fame career this weekend, Ryan reflected to MLB.com on the biggest mistake he ever made.

“There’s no hiding that one,” Ryan told the site. “You can put that one in there and lock it down. I’m not running from it. I’m proud of what he’s done. Obviously, it was a mistake. The guy has been a great representation of the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball for a long time. And it’s Boston’s gain and Minnesota’s loss. And I take full responsibility.”

Not only did Morban never appear in a game for Minnesota, he didn’t even make it through spring training, departing to the Orioles on waivers.

The decision to release Ortiz was driven by economics, as most decisions were back then in small-market Minnesota. He was due roughly $2 million in arbitration, and the Twins had Doug Mientkiewicz at first and Justin Morneau in the pipeline.

Ortiz, who had battled injury during his tenure, was reluctantly deemed expendable, despite compiling an .809 OPS in parts of six seasons with the Twins.

“There wasn’t any one thing,” Ryan told MLB.com. “If you look at his numbers across the board, they were very respectable. And not that it was totally about money, but we were a little bit strapped. That would be a good excuse, but it wasn’t that entirely. It was just a bad error in judgment of a guy’s talent. How about a mistake?”

The Red Sox remain thankful to this day.

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox, Terry Ryan, Terry Ryan's biggest mistake
Red Sox’ custom car guy: ‘It’s like a competition between all of them’ 01.31.16 at 2:45 pm ET
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Alex Vega, owner and operator of The Auto Firm near Miami, has been in the news lately thanks in large part because of the article in the New York Times, chronicling his work on cars for more than 300 professional athletes.

Of note for Red Sox followers was the work he has had done for many on the current Sox roster, such as Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Brock Holt, Rusney Castillo and prospect Yoan Moncada.

Appearing on WEEI with Rob Bradford, Butch Stearns and John Tomase, Vega elaborated on his business relationships with his professional athlete clientele.

“It’€™s mind-blowing to me sometimes because they buy a brand new car, make it really nice and then six, seven months down the line somebody else gets something similar and they want to up it,” Vega said. “It’€™s like a competition between all of them.”

Vega detailed some of the particulars in each of the cars he has worked on for Red Sox players:

– Castillo has a Porsche 911 Turbo that not only shoots flames out the back, but has his uniform number light up on the front of the car, and on the ground underneath vehicle when the doors are opened.

– Ramirez’ Lamborghini also has the ability to shoot flames out the back.

– Holt goes against the grain for most bringing in Jeeps, upgrading the look, but not altering the Jeep appearance.

– Sandoval? “Crazy. I love these guys. He’€™s just a unique guy. Spur of the moment type of guy. He showed up with two of his Range Rovers I built for him that I want to change up the rims for spring training. Next thing you know he sees a [Mercedes] G63 I have outside. He says, ‘Man I love that car,’ drives it, trades in one of the Range Rover, takes the [Mercedes] G-Wagon.” (The Times article has Sandoval quoted as saying he gets a new car every year.)

– Moncada not only is in the market for one of Vega’s customized, $175,000 vans, but already has a BMW which glows in the dark.

– While he hasn’t done anything for David Ortiz quite yet, Vega said he is currently working on reeling in the Red Sox’ DH. “We’€™re working on him right now, actually. We’€™re working on surprising the world with what he wants. ‘€¦ He wants to leave with a bang, I guess.”

What kind of problems does Vega run into? Making it clear to his clients what is and isn’t street legal. “It happens a lot because I do a lot of cars for the Dominican Republic, different countries where they can have police lights and sirens. They don’€™t realize that’€™s something you can’€™t do in the States.”

Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox
David Ortiz ready to teach Hanley Ramirez art of being DH 01.29.16 at 11:42 am ET
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David Ortiz said he is going to take Hanley Ramirez under his wing when it comes to learning how to be a DH. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today)

David Ortiz said he is going to take Hanley Ramirez under his wing when it comes to learning how to be a DH. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today)

David Ortiz believes Hanley Ramirez at first base this season. But he also knows the reality that is coming after the 2016 season.

Whether or not the first base switch works, Ramirez remains the No. 1 candidate to slide into the Red Sox‘ designated hitter spot once Ortiz retires.

That’s why the current DH is ready to offer some proactive advice.

“This year I’€™m going to talk to him about it and take him through things I normally like to do,” Ortiz said. “In case it happens, he will be ready for it. I’€™ve got no problem showing my boy anything that I know.”

Talking to reporters at last weekend’s Winter Weekend, it certainly didn’t seem like Ramirez was going to take offense to the idea he might slide over to DH a year from now.

“Hell, yeah,” Ramirez said when asked about his interest in potentially DHing. “When you’ve got two things to do, play defense and offense (versus) just sitting in the dugout, it’s a little different.”

Thus far in Ramirez’s career, the DH spot seems to fit him well.

In his 11 games as a designated hitter in 2015, Ramirez totaled a .295 batting average with five homers and a 1.001 OPS. For his career, the 32 year old has hit .316 with a .946 OPS in 25 games at the position.

Some factors to consider when playing out Ramirez’s potential move to first base is the development of Travis Shaw and/or Sam Travis, along with the Red Sox’ interest in Blue Jays first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion when/if he becomes a free agent after the ’16 season.

Until then, Ortiz believes Ramirez’s second season with the Red Sox will be a productive one — both while playing first and under the mentorship of the retiring DH.

“Hanley has the same personality that I have. He’€™s a lovely guy. He’€™s a guy who is noisy. He loves his teammates. He likes to have a good time. He loves the game,” Ortiz said.

“I definitely believe that he’€™s going to be OK. He’€™s going back to the infield. All he needs to learn is how to move around the bag, which isn’€™t anything that is impossible, and go from there.”

Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez,
David Ortiz is optimistic he will get into Hall of Fame, and he should be 01.07.16 at 11:53 am ET
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Now that there is a definitive end date to his career, David Ortiz can talk about the Hall of Fame with a bit more purpose. That’s exactly what he did when sitting down to talk about the subject at his celebrity golf tournament.

“I am,” said the Red Sox designated hitter when asked if he was optimistic he would eventually be inducted into Cooperstown. “I think I did, and still do, what I’m supposed to. So, that’s all I can control.

“Numbers-wise, it shouldn’€™t be a problem because that’€™s what the Hall of Fame is all about. Numbers and not being someone being part of controversy, so I guess on that side of it I think I’€™m doing OK. Getting in the Hall of Fame is not an easy thing to do. There is always going to be someone who has something to say, so we’€™ll see how that plays out.”

He’s right, numbers probably won’t be Ortiz’s roadblock.

Starting with my very unscientific approach to starting the Hall of Fame conversation for position players — charting how many times they finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting (showing a dominance in their era) — the DH passes muster, accomplishing the feat six times. Conversely, new-inducted Mike Piazza reached such levels seven times, while the guy just missing out this time around, Jeff Bagwell, was a five-timer.

We also know about the 503 homers, and, of course, the historic postseason success.

Ortiz’s hurdles will be his link to performance enhancing drugs (the 2003 survey test) and the position he plays, designated hitter.

Wednesday’s results offered some additional clarity when analyzing Ortiz’s chances.

Even though neither Piazza or Bagwell have no direct link to PEDs, the suggestion that they might have dipped into that well certainly has been the reason it took them so long to get this far in the voting. But here they are.

And even the guys Curt Schilling recently called the “poster children” for the steroid era, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, saw jumps after staying fairly stagnant in their first three years on the ballot. Each jumped about eight percent.

But, perhaps most important for Ortiz’s candidacy, was how Edgar Martinez was viewed by voters.

Frank Thomas is the only semblance of a designated hitter in the Hall of Fame, although he played almost as many games at first base. That has left Martinez — the player the award for best DH each season is named after — as the position’s current hope to crack the Hall.

But, for Martinez, it hadn’t been going well.

In six times on the ballot, he had yet to crack 36.5 percent, dropping to 27 percent last year. And this is a guy who carried a career .312 batting average and .933 OPS over an 18-year career.

But, presumably thanks to weeding out of some of the older voters, Martinez and the DH position took a big, 16.4 percent leap forward. He now stands at 43.4 percent. That, along with closer Trevor Hoffman getting a whopping 67.3 percent on his first try, was an enormous step toward silencing positional bias.

Here’s a guess: If Martinez cracks 50 percent — which it would seem a very real possibility — Ortiz isn’t weighed down by the position and he is in.

“I don’€™t know,” said Ortiz when asked if there would be another designated hitter to come along like himself. “They said the same thing about Edgar Martinez, that there wasn’€™t going to be another guy born to be that good and God blessed me for being who I am. So I don’€™t doubt that some point in baseball somebody else pops up like me, or better than me. That’€™s something that nobody can dictate.”

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David Ortiz explains why he is choosing to retire 12.03.15 at 8:49 pm ET
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PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic — We heard he was retiring, and then we saw he was retiring (thanks to a two-minute video). But we hadn’t heard why he was retiring.

Thursday night, David Ortiz offered some insight into his decision to call it quits after the 2016 season.

“t’€™s a process and not a decision you make from day to night,” he explained on the first night of his charity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “I had an injury in 2012 and since that injury, it’€™s you getting older, you have to do things differently so you can continue playing. I had the opportunity to continue playing all the games that I played after that because I prepared myself. Through that preparation, through that time, you start viewing things from a different perspective. That was my case. That’€™s why I said I had time to view things before I made the decision.

“All the time you have with your family and everyone around you, the people that work with you, they pretty much see your situation and see what your thoughts are and everybody supported you. In my case, like I said, I had the opportunity to think about it for a long time and it is what it is. I know I feel good. I know things are going well. I had a good season last year and I’€™m definitely going to pull myself together to have another good one this year. That was my decision and it is what it is.”

Ortiz did explain that there was not one single moment or instance when the decision was definitively made.

“I pretty much was thinking about it for a while and I had the opportunity to take my time to do it and once you take your time,” he said. “I think there’€™s no regrets.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox,
Now teammates, David Ortiz has no problems with David Price at 8:36 pm ET
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PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic — David Ortiz said he still hasn’t talked to David Price. In fact, it’s actually been quite a while since the pair conversed.

That was, of course, in large part because of their well-publicized feud.

But now? In the world of big league baseball, becoming teammates have a way of changing the dynamic.

“No, you know, since that incident happened [in 2014, when Price hit Ortiz in the back], we pretty much kind of shut it down,” Ortiz said at the opening of his annual celebrity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “He’s not a bad guy. I know him from before. Things happen in the game, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you are. Our adrenaline kicks in on the field. We all have the purpose of what we want to do on the field. You make up your mind from there, but that doesn’t dictate what kind of person you are. If you go around the league, you hear a lot of people saying good things about him. I know we have our moments. Like I say, it’s time to turn the page. We’re teammates now. We’ve got to be on the same page if we want to win ball games, definitely.”

It was a sentiment that Ortiz passed on to the Red Sox decision-makers when they called the designated hitter to inform him of the organization’s pursuit of Price.

“Yeah, at some point the Red Sox asked me about and I told them I got no problem with it,” Ortiz said. “All that matters to me is winning and I know that him being on our side, we’re going to win ball games. I have no problem with that.”

Some of those seen in the early stages of the Ortiz event were former Celtic Ray Allen, former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, former Patriot Troy Brown and former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell.

Read More: David Ortiz, David Price,
David Ortiz on David Price rivalry: ‘Leave the past in the past’ 12.02.15 at 12:55 pm ET
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When news broke that David Price had agreed to a seven-year deal with the Red Sox, it led to immediate concern among Red Sox Nation about how David Ortiz would react, considering the players’ rocky history over the past three years.

Ortiz alleviated those concerns Wednesday, insisting he’s ready to move on.

“No problems. All that’s in the past,” Ortiz said in an interview with radio station 102.5 FM in the Dominican Republic (via ESPN). “Now he is my partner. When a person joins your cause, you must leave the past in the past.”

In the 2013 postseason, Price objected to Ortiz taking his time to round the bases after a home run. The next time they faced each other, in May 2014 at Fenway Park, Price drilled Ortiz with a first-inning pitch. During a benches-clearing gathering later in the game — following another Sox batter (Mike Carp) being hit — Ortiz animatedly pointed and screamed at Price. After the game Ortiz referred to their dispute as “a war,” implied he would go after Price if he got hit again, and said, “I have no respect for him no more.” Price accused Ortiz of acting like he’s bigger than the game.

Ortiz now apparently is willing to forgive and forget in order to have a chance for another championship in his final season.

“That’s fine. We need pitching, and David Price is a great pitcher and has showed that for years,” Ortiz said. “I hope he will help us. It’s a marquee pitcher, and that’s what we need.”

Read More: David Ortiz, David Price,
David Ortiz lending out locker to Torii Hunter’s son 11.20.15 at 7:52 am ET
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The friendship between Torii Hunter and David Ortiz has been well documented.

The pair go all the way back to the early 1990’s, when both were breaking into professional baseball with the Minnesota Twins. So it should be no surprise that when afforded the opportunity to make the son of his buddy feel at home this weekend, Ortiz jumped at the chance.

Torii Hunter Jr., a wide receiver for the Notre Dame football team, will be joining his Fighting Irish in taking on Boston College at Fenway Park Saturday night. He is afforded a spot in the home clubhouse/locker room, of course, because Notre Dame has been designated the host team.

Read More: Boston College, David Ortiz, Notre Dame, torii hunter
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