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David Ortiz in The Players’ Tribune essay: ‘I never knowingly took any steroids’ 03.26.15 at 8:22 pm ET
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David Ortiz took to Derek Jeter‘s website, The Players’ Tribune, to voice his thoughts on a number of different topics — the biggest being steroids.

In 2009 it came out that in 2003 Ortiz tested positive on a test to determine whether mandatory random drug testing was necessary in Major League Baseball. The results were supposed to remain anonymous, and it was also never revealed what exactly Ortiz tested positive for.

“Let me tell you something. Say whatever you want about me — love me, hate me. But I’m no [expletive],” Ortiz wrote. “I never knowingly took any steroids. If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different.”

Ortiz relayed a story of him being on vacation in the Dominican and having MLB reps show up at his door to test him for steroids. He says this is a common occurrence.

“In some people’s minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that’s [expletive],” he wrote. “Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I’ve been tested since 2004? More than 80. They say these tests are random. If it’s really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It’s no joke. Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will.”

Most recently a major topic surrounding the designated hitter is whether or not he should be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Ortiz feels he should be.

“Hell yes I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,” Ortiz wrote. “I’ve won three World Series since MLB introduced comprehensive drug testing. I’ve performed year after year after year. But if a bunch of writers who have never swung a bat want to tell me it’s all for nothing, OK. Why do they write my legacy?”

He added: “In 75 years, when I’m dead and gone, I won’t care if I’m in the Hall of Fame. I won’t care if a bunch of baseball writers know the truth about who I am in my soul and what I have done in this game. I care that my children know the truth.”

Click here to read the complete essay at The Players’ Tribune website.

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Observations from Red Sox’ 5-4 10-inning win: David Ortiz feels ‘all right’ testing his wheels, Rusney Castillo walks off hero at 5:18 pm ET
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David Ortiz jogs out a pop out in the fifth inning Thursday against the Twins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

David Ortiz jogs out a pop out in the fifth inning Thursday against the Twins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The sight of David Ortiz‘s maple bat exploding violently is not what captured the attention of Red Sox manager John Farrell in the slugger’s second at-bat Thursday at JetBlue Park. It was the sight of him legging out a fielder’s choice that drove in Mookie Betts from third base.

The ball dribbled far enough out to the right of second baseman Eduardo Escobar that he flipped onto the shortstop to put out Dustin Pedroia. But Danny Santana’s throw was not in time to get Ortiz at first.

Testing his “wheels” — as Ortiz put it afterward — was a big test for the designated hitter to pass after missing the last 10 days due to general soreness and dehydration that had zapped so much strength from his legs. Ortiz was cautiously optimistic that Thursday’s 5-4 10-inning win over the Twins at JetBlue Park as a step in the right direction for him.

“It felt all right,” Ortiz said after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. “I’m just trying to get that feeling of running.”

“Good to see them back in the lineup, for one,” Farrell said. “I thought David took some good swings, but we’ve got 10 days remaining and they’re going to get ample at-bats before we break here. The fact is the next step back after a little bit of downtime for both, and I think it’ll be good to get some continuity in our lineup.”

Ortiz wasn’t the only player returning as Mike Napoli batted in a game for the first time since an ankle injury shut him down on Mar. 18. Napoli also struck out in his first at-bat in the second inning but responded with a single in the third. Napoli finished 1-for-2.

“He got down the line well, kept from being doubled up,” Farrell said of Ortiz. “I think it was an indication that the soreness he’s been dealing with, he’s feeling better, and that was the case with some baserunning the last couple of days. So a productive day for both.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, David Ortiz
David Ortiz: ‘Dehydrating is part of being human’ 03.25.15 at 11:57 am ET
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After being questioned for taking time off at spring training due to dehydration, David Ortiz detailed his health situation to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford and vowed to be ready to go soon.

Ortiz said the dehydration issue led to him becoming sick, and the Red Sox medical staff decided it would be best for him to rest.

“Everything just tied up on me and I started feeling sore. I couldn’t run,” he explained. “I’ve had it before. The minute I started feeling that way I went to the doctor and they already knew.

“I don’t know why people would criticize. Dehydrating is part of being human. You know how hot it’s been down here? I dehydrate and then I caught a bad cold. So all these symptoms get all your joints tied up, which normally happens. I started feeling soreness, so they shut me down. Now I’m starting to regroup and feel better. I have this thing I’ve got to manage the right way.”

Ortiz has made 19 plate appearance this spring (he had 40 last year), and he said he isn’t concerned with his limited preseason action. He noted that he has been working on his swing, although he’s still feeling sore.

“I’ve got to be smart about it. I’m not 20 anymore, and this ball club needs me for the season,” he said. “I see people getting worried about me in spring training and I’m like, ‘What’s going on? I thought the season was more important than spring training.’ But I understand. I get the memo. I know when people don’t see you playing out there, which is something everybody normally does, they start worrying. But everything is going to be fine for the season.

“Opening Day is a big deal, but not to me. It’s just another day. I want to be good for the season. I want to be able to do what I do for the season, and that’s what I’m worried about right now. I’m not really worried about stressing out about spring training. Spring training doesn’t mean [expletive] for me.”

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Morning Fort: David Ortiz not expected to play over weekend; Rusney Castillo back 03.20.15 at 10:49 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — It has evidently gone beyond dehydration.

After David Ortiz‘ missed games earlier in the week with the aforementioned diagnosis, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday morning that his designated hitter most likely won’t play over the weekend while dealing with “general soreness.”

“He’s under the weather,” Farrell said. “He’s dealing with a couple of things. He’s going to remain going through overall treatment just getting some of the general soreness out of it. I don’t anticipate him in a game over the weekend.”

Asked about being prepared for Opening Day — which, in this case, might include playing in the field in Philadelphia — Farrell noted, “In a couple of games before we break camp. That’s going to get enough familiarity. Even when we’ve been in interleague play before in National League ballparks … there’s been some days of ground balls, which he’s already been taking here. So he’ll have enough time to prepare for Philadelphia.”

Farrell said that Ortiz’s ailment is not related to the Achilles tendon issue the 39-year-old previously dealt with.

Ortiz is 4-for-15 with a home run in Grapefruit League action, having also gotten a pair of at-bats in the Red Sox‘ exhibition game against Northeastern.

— Koji Uehara was scheduled to play long toss Friday for the first time since aggravating his left hamstring.

“Our target is sometime in the middle of next week by the time he gets back on the mound after we get through some physical testing,” Farrell said of Uehara, who has three spring appearances under his belt. “But he can still keep his arm in shape. I still don’t question if he’s going to be ready for the start of the season. I fully expect him to be ready when the season begins.”

— Rusney Castillo is returning to game action at JetBlue Park after having spent the past two days getting playing time in minor league games.

Farrell said the plan was to get Castillo into the Red Sox’ game with the Orioles on Friday at some point, with an eye on starting the outfielder Saturday in Bradenton.

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David Ortiz on Curt Schilling Twitter controversy: ‘It makes you angry’ 03.02.15 at 7:39 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz can understand Curt Schilling‘s frustrations.

Not only is Ortiz also living the life of a high profile sports figure immersing himself in the world of Twitter, but he has experienced the good and bad when it comes to using the social media tool for personal recognition.

It’s why Ortiz exhibited a passionate response when informed of the Schilling saga, in which the former pitcher’s post congratulating his daughter, Gabby, led to some vicious tweets directed at the high school senior.

(To read more about the Schilling situation, click here for columns by John Tomase and Jerry Thornton. Schilling is scheduled to appear on the Dennis and Callahan Show Tuesday morning.)

“It’€™s personal,” said Ortiz. “I tweeted about my daughter graduating a while ago and most everybody was supportive. I think one or two people put up something stupid and you try to not pay attention to that but you see it. Every man would want to congratulate their kids. When you talk about your son or your daughter graduating, you’€™ve made it. You put a lot of work into it so your kids can be somebody in the future for society. Every time I heard somebody’€™s kid graduating I feel proud because I know how much it takes. So for anybody to criticize that, it’€™s wrong.

“Now I’€™m going to dig into it because I’€™m going to support him 100 percent. If you have some personal issues with Curt about something he has done before, that’€™s your problem. But now, when he’€™s tweeting about his daughter, you respect that because if you’€™re the one tweeting about your daughter graduating you like to hear good things.”

Ortiz explained that the best course of action for Twitter trolls is to look the other way, but often times that’s easier said that done.

For instance, just recently he was put to the test with what would appear to be a seemingly congratulatory post for his native country’s birthday.

“The other day I tweeted something about Indepedence Day back in [the Dominican Republic],” Ortiz said. “I tweeted in Spanish and English. I first tweeted it in Spanish and then English because I wanted everybody to understand what I was trying to say. This jerk comes out of nowhere telling me that wrote it wrong in Spanish. But the way he wrote it was wrong. It pissed me off because, first of all, he didn’€™t know how to write something in Spanish, and No. 2, you’€™re trying to get me to write something in Spanish when you can’€™t even in Spanish. I put something back, but I took it off.

“It’€™s hard, I’€™m not going to lie to you. The best thing to do is just leave it alone but there are always going to be jerks out there trying to get your attention.”

Still, as much as Ortiz understands the dynamic of social media criticism, when ridicule of family members enter into the conversation then he — like most — still has a difficult time understanding such actions.

“It’€™s kind of hard,” he said. “I know there are a bunch of [expletives] out there just waiting for you to say something or to do something so they can criticize you no matter what you say or what you do. Why would you criticize guy that has been through the whole thing he’€™s been through, and then they’€™re talking about his daughter who is graduating, for God’€™s sake? Really. Why would you criticize something like that. It makes you angry.”

(To view David Ortiz’s Twitter account, click here.)

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Commissioner Rob Manfred: ‘I don’t foresee the kind of problems that [David Ortiz] does’ regarding new pace-of-play rules 02.28.15 at 10:21 am ET
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David Ortiz was very outspoken earlier in the week when he became aware of the new MLB rules regarding hitters in the effort to speed up the overall pace of play.

Commissioner Rob Manfred responded to Ortiz’s comments and the new rules in general on Friday when speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston.

Ortiz said during his press conference that he didn’t feel the players were given much input in the changes. Manfred said the MLB Players Association as a whole worked together with the league on it, and he added he doesn’t “foresee the kind of problems” that Ortiz does.

“I think that, across the unit, across the bargaining unit, we will get really good cooperation on pace of game,” Manfred said. “We made the agreement with their certified bargaining representative, and I don’t foresee the kind of problems that Mr. Ortiz does.”

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter on Thursday) reported the first violation of the new rules would result in a warning followed by the next four being different increments of fines. Rosenthal added there was a possibility of even suspending players if they continue to show “willful disregard” of the rules.

Manfred doesn’t expect to see this action used, at least this season.

“I think that we’re going to work into the pace-of-game rules and you’re not going to see that type of disciplinary action at the outset,” said Manfred.

The Commissioner also said he contacted the union after hearing Ortiz’s comments earlier in the week.

“I’ve had a conversation with his bargaining representative about it,” Manfred said. “I’m sure they’ll reach out to him. I expect at the end of the day we’ll get cooperation there as well.”

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

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How would David Ortiz speed up game? No more instant replay, fewer pitching changes 02.26.15 at 11:43 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Much has been made of David Ortiz criticizing baseball for implementing a new rule preventing hitters from stepping out of the batter’s box in an attempt to shorten games.

But if not the MLB-mandated batter’s box regulation, then how would Ortiz shave time off these games? Appearing on the Hot Stove Show: Spring Training Edition Thursday night, the Red Sox designated hitter offered one of his solutions.

“First thing I would do would be cancel the replay thing,” Ortiz said. “That takes a lot of time. When you have to review a play that just happened, man, sometimes that takes forever. If you call safe or out, they should just leave it right there like it used to be.

“It’€™s taking forever, and we’€™re talking about shortening up the time. It’€™s taking forever. They have to go review and make sure the guy from New York say whatever he has to say. Sometimes you’€™ll be like, ‘€˜Man, this is taking forever.’ €™”

According to an MLB report in the middle of the 2014 season, the average time for a replay was 1:50. One adjustment made to the process for ’15 is the ability for managers to inform umpires they want to challenge a play without leaving the dugout.

Another solution offered by Ortiz to speed things up would be to limit pitching changes made by managers. According to FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, such an idea was floated by Cubs president Theo Epstein at the most recent GM Meetings.

Epstein’s idea was to make it mandatory that all relievers be forced to face at least two (and possibly as many as three) batters per appearance.

“How about every manager wants to match up every hitter after the fifth inning,” Ortiz said. “That takes forever, too. There’s games you see five or six guys pitching. That takes forever. So, if you’re talking about timing, it’s critical. The time you plan on saving, it’s not going to be saved.”

Also on the show, Ortiz reiterated his stance regarding the batter’s box rule.

To listen to the entire interview, click here.

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Dustin Pedroia can see where David Ortiz is coming from: ‘Baseball’s not a drive-through’ at 5:05 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia could only laugh.

When the Red Sox second baseman heard David Ortiz go off on Wednesday about new MLB pace-of-game rules.

“I think it was the first time he heard of it,” Pedroia said Thursday. “The first reaction is always pretty good [from Ortiz]. I just laughed. You never know. That’s his job, though. His job is to hit and, in my mind, I have to go play defense and concentrate on a lot of things. But, when you’re putting a new rule and his main focus is to be in the box, that’s his home. You know what I mean? I can side with him on why he’s upset, but he’ll be fine.

“I’m pretty sure the umpires aren’t going to start yelling at you. They understand. Everybody that’s on that field loves baseball. They don’t want to make it a hurry-up. Baseball’s not a drive-through. We’ve got to play the game and they know that. Obviously, if you get fined, you get fined but we’re trying to play to win and that’s the way I look at it.”

Pedroia was asked if he thought speeding up the game would be good for the game.

“Is it good for the game? We’ll find out. I don’t think we’ve played under the rules yet,” Pedroia said, adding, “I don’t really try to think about it. I don’t know if I get out. I adjust my batting gloves and tighten them. My only thing as a hitter, and obviously the pitchers do it too, we’re trying to think about how and what we’re going to do the next pitch. Obviously, some guys take a little bit longer and some guys don’t. I think that’s the fun part about the game. In our mind, that’s the competition. Him [the pitcher] trying to find a way to get me out and me trying to find a way to get a hit off him. However long that takes, that’s how long it takes. We have a job to do and we’re trying to execute and we know the pitcher has a job to do. I don’t think I take that long.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as everybody’s saying. I’m sure the pitcher and the hitter are going to be ready to play. That’s the way I look at it. I’m sure there’s not going to be a pitch thrown and I’m going to be hanging out in the other on-deck circle. We’re still going to play baseball. That’s the way I look at it.”

Even Red Sox pitchers like Joe Kelly could see where Ortiz was coming from.

“We play a ton of games,” Kelly said. “I understand exactly where he’s coming from. As a hitter, being a professional hitter, it’s probably one of the toughest things to do in all of sports. He’s not taking his time just to take his time. He’s out there and he’s one of the best left-handed hitters in this game. He’s thinking about what the pitcher is trying to do to him, and vice versa. I’m out there on the mound trying to read swings. If I throw a fastball inside and the hitter feels a little bit uncomfortable with his [swinging] motion, I might take a step off the mound and take a breath, ‘All right, is he trying to fool me or is he really going to get beat there today?’ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia
John Farrell doesn’t think David Ortiz has target on his back: ‘He’ll adhere to the rules’ at 2:27 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — While infield coach Brian Butterfield was going over bunt fielding drills with his pitchers and infielders Thursday morning outside JetBlue Park, John Farrell spent a good 20 minutes with David Ortiz.

The manager stood and listened to Ortiz reiterate what he told reporters on Wednesday about his concerns and complaints about the new rules designed to speed up play, designed specifically to keep batters like Ortiz in the batters box and keep them from slowing the game down. Ortiz was articulate and animated as always in relaying his feelings to the skipper.

And Farrell came away thinking everything will be just fine when the season gets underway.

“I think he’ll adhere to the rules,” Farrell said. “And I think anytime we’re going through some subtle changes or some adjustments to the pace of game or instant replay, there’s going to be some growing pains. We fully anticipate that. I think it’s important that we all give this a chance to come to fruition a little bit and see how it may or may not affect the flow of a game or an individual routine at the plate. And I think that’s what’s important here, is that there’s a personal routine at the plate or on the mound that is part of the natural flow of the game. Some might consider that flow slow but I think that’s important that it’s preserved because that’s what puts a player, hitter or pitcher, in the right frame of mind to execute what he’s trying to get done.”

There was a report Wednesday night, after Ortiz’s very public comments, that MLB will not only consider aggressively administering $500 fines but will consider suspensions for repeat offenders of the pace rules. Does Farrell think Ortiz placed a target on his back with his outburst?

“No, not at all,” Farrell said. “I think the one thing that David has done is he’s an All-Star player and he’s a guy that is about playing the game the right way. I don’t think he’s putting a target on his back. He spoke his mind and that’s where we don’t make this too much of an issue because I think it’ll end up being a subtlety inside of the game. But this is no different than when they had fines and potential suspensions for relievers coming out of the bullpen that took too long. We dealt with our guys that were a little bit slower than normal in a way that you have to remind them of some things as the game unfolds.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, John Farrell
David Ortiz thinks like Tom Brady: ‘We are like wine, remember that’ 02.25.15 at 4:43 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tom Brady and David Ortiz will be forever linked in Boston sports lore. They have led their respective teams to unlikely championships when many thought they were either incapable or washed up.

Before last season, Tom Brady famously told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan, “When I suck, I’ll retire.” Of course, after a 2-2 start that started his critics wondering if that time had come, Brady rebounded nicely to win his fourth Super Bowl title and his third Super Bowl MVP.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was paying attention to Brady this season and made reference to the Patriots quarterback Wednesday when asked how much longer he thinks his 39-year-old body will let him play.

‘€œPeople asked the same question of Tom Brady,” he said. ‘€œNow what? I bet you want him to be your quarterback once again. All the trash people were talking about him, this and that bro, I was listening to that in the Dominican. We barely watch football over there. But I watched the Super Bowl. I was like, ‘€˜Man, they’€™re not going to learn in Boston.’€™

“We are like wine. Remember that.”

Ortiz and Brady have always been linked, and that was never more evident than on Oct. 13, 2013. That’s when Brady fired a game-winning pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with six seconds left to beat the Saints and then three hours later, David Ortiz hit a game-tying grand slam against the Tigers to wipe out a 5-1 hole in the bottom of the eighth in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Ortiz is nearly two years older than Brady, who turns 38 in August. He hit 35 home runs last season, his most in any season since hitting 35 in 2007, and is just 34 shy of 500 in his career.

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