Ortiz back in there, and in a familiar spot
Yes, David Ortiz is back in the lineup after his three-day break in Seattle. No, manager Terry Francona did not move the left-handed slugger out of the No. 3 spot in the batting order, where Ortiz has been almost exclusively since the beginning of 2004.
Ortiz declined to speak before the game, but he seemed in a good mood.
The true answer of what the break did for him will come a little after 7 p.m. tonight when he steps back into that batters box for the first time since last Thursday in Anaheim, when he went 0-for-7 and tied a franchise record by leaving 12 men on base. Ortiz is hitting .208 with no homers and 15 RBIs in 130 at-bats.
The Red Sox are playing the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays for the first of a three-game series at Fenway. Speaking of the Blue Jays, they are not only off to a great start, but they have an old friend in Kevin Millar, who is batting eighth tonight and DH-ing.
Millar and Ortiz were always very close in their three years as teammates so Kevin of course is aware of the slump his friend is in and can definitely relate. Here is Millar talking about Ortiz:
“You know what, he should have a longer runway then most players here just because of what this guy has done, all the big hits he’s had. You feel terrible for him. I want to talk to him today. You have to understand, it’s baseball and there’s struggles and when you start out this way, it’s magnified and it’s brutal. You can go do this in August and go 80, 90, 100 at-bats without a home run – it happens. But at the start, it gets magnified and becomes more mental than physical.”
“I think, David, physically, looks good. I think he’s obviously still very powerful but I think once he gets that first one, you’re going to see him hit 10 in a month, then seven in a month, and you’ll know he’s back.”
“No doubt about it. We’ve all been there. I remember one year in ’05 or something, same thing, I started out and didn’t hit a home run for whatever, but once you hit the first one out of the way … “
“He’s the best about that, Tito. He’s not going to move him down and say he’s not going to do this. He’s going to stick with him and he needs to.”