Results tagged ‘ David Ortiz ’

Papi back home tonight — in three-hole

The combination of a short-handed Red Sox lineup tonight — no Ellsbury, no Drew, no Victor — has put David Ortiz back in his former home in the batting order, the three-hole. Ortiz didn’t know about the move until a flock of reporters informed him of it before the game.

Was he excited about it? “I’ll let you know after the game,” Ortiz chuckled.

During Ortiz’s slump of epic proportions early last season, manager Terry Francona took his slugger out of that spot, and this is the first time he’s been back there since May 24, 2009 against the Mets.

Ortiz has played 662 games and had 2,521 at-bats batting third, more than double his total of any other lineup slot. He has 177 of his 326 homers hitting third.

Meanwhile, a pretty big game for the Red Sox tonight if they can pull out a three-game sweep here against Garza and the Rays. Coming here 8 1/2 games back and leaving 5 1/2 back would be a significant leap.

Mags confident about Papi

Slowly but surely, David Ortiz seems to be getting out of his crisis point. Since the calendar flipped from April to May, it has been a different Papi. The lefty slugger is hitting .310 with three homers and seven RBIs in May. He is feeling confident and looking it. One sign of that was how well Ortiz worked himself into that 3-2 count in the ninth yesterday with the game on the line. It should have been a walk, but we all know what happened on the call. Another good sign is that he was the only Boston player to have a hit against Blue Jays righty Shaun Marcum in Wednesday’s game, belting a pair of line singles.

At any rate, hitting coach Dave Magadan is seeing signs every day of a rejuvenated Ortiz.

“He’s done a lot of work, like he always does,” Magadan said. “He’s taken a lot of extra batting practice. What he’s working on is showing up in games. He’s not afraid to get here early and do the things he needs to do to get back on track. He’s showing signs of it. He’s showing a little more consistency. He put a couple good swings on balls today. With his continued hard work, I see him turning the corner, continuing to take good swings, being a little more consistent putting the ball in play hard. When he does that, he’s going to get hits.”

Of late, Ortiz has been spraying the ball to all fields.

“He just needs to hit the ball where it’s pitched. I was saying earlier, when he’s struggling, he’s fouling a lot of pitches off. He’s missing the pitch.  When he’s going good, he’s putting good swings on the ball and hitting them hard,” Magadan said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s up the middle, to right field, off the Monster. As long as he’s hitting the ball where it’s pitched and driving it, he’s on his way.”

Finally, it seems Ortiz is stockpiling consecutive quality at-bats.

“He’s putting consistently good swings on balls,” Magadan said. “He’s putting himself in a good position to put a good swing on the ball. He’s ready on time. He’s a little more direct to the ball. The guys that are throwing 93, 94, 95, he’s getting to those pitches. He’s seeing the off-speed better. When you don’t have to start earlier or cheat to get to the hard stuff, you tend to take the nasty breaking balls. He’s done a better job of that. He’s just put a lot of hard work in, and you’re starting to see the results of that now.”

Ortiz’s frustration is starting to turn into determination.

“He’s always been confident,” Magadan said. “He’s always had the attitude that it’s just a matter of time before he breaks out of it. We all have confidence that it’s going to happen. He looks too good in his pre-game work, in his prep before the game and his routine, it looks too good for it not to eventually show up in the game. He’s starting to show signs of it now.”

Ortiz expressed his own optimism about the way things are headed in his most recent MLBlog.

Papi at crossroads

The David Ortiz saga remains a hot topic, even after a 5-1 win over the Angels. Ortiz’s slump  extended with an 0-for-4 on Tuesday night that included two strikeouts and two double plays, the latter of which came with the bases loaded and nobody out in a tie game.

It is a tough situation for manager Terry Francona, particularly with Mike Lowell seemingly spraying line drives in every at-bat. Francona really would like Ortiz to get hot, but there’s a fine line with how long he can wait. The Red Sox, to a man, hope that Big Papi snaps out of it.

In the meantime, Jeremy Hermida stepped into the hero’s role tonight after Ortiz’s DP.

“It’s 25 guys, man. We met the other day,” Dustin Pedroia said. “We need everybody to win. This isn’t two or three guys that’s going to carry a team. We need everybody to help us win games. We have each other’s back, and we’re ready for the long haul. We started out [poorly], but we’re going to come out of it. We believe that.”

Pedroia — in his typically animated way — also expressed confidence that Ortiz will snap out of it.

“David’s fine. He’s one of our teammates,” Pedroia said. “It could have been me that hit into a double play. It happens to everybody, man. He’s had 60 at-bats. A couple of years ago, I had 60 at-bats I was hitting .170 and everybody was ready to kill me too. And what happened? Laser show.”

“I’m tired of looking at the NESN poll —  Why is David struggling? David’s fine. He’s one of our teammates. We believe in him. He came out of it last year, he’s going to come out of it this year. I’m going to go online and vote. Papi’s fine. Thanks for playing.”

Saturday night special — Ortiz goes deep

Just when things seemed to be getting to a low point again for David Ortiz — he didn’t look good in any of his at-bats on Friday night — the big man started tonight’s game by  belting a homer just over the wall in right in his first at-bat. The key for Ortiz will be trying to keep some momentum with one at-bat to the next.

For all the attention on Ortiz’s slump, the Red Sox really need Victor Martinez to get his bat going. The No. 3 hitter in Boston’s lineup, Martinez his hitting .238 with one homer and five RBIs.

Jeremy Hermida is out for tonight’s game with a sore left quad, so Darnell McDonald is starting in left and Jonathan Van Every is in center.

Things started in rocky fashion for Daisuke Matsuzaka. A walk, a throwing error on an attempted pickoff , and then an RBI single. But in typical Dice-K fashion, he settled down and got through the rest of the first unscathed.

Game 1 at Camden Yards

Beautiful night here at Camden Yards, which is easily in the top 3, if not the top 5 ballparks in all of baseball.

David Ortiz is looking forward to this weekend because he’s going to get a chance to play. The Orioles have 3 righty starters in a row. With lefty starters piling up against the Sox, Ortiz had started just seven of the last 14 games.

Will the regular at-bats have a positive impact on Ortiz?

“I hope so. It’s hard to get momentum when you’re not playing, I realize that,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “At the same time, who you have somewhat dictates what you do. Sometimes, if somebody says you’re being patient, maybe there’s a reason. Sometimes, it appears you’re impatient, maybe that’s not necessarily it.

“We’ve got Mikey Lowell sitting over there and that’s a good option. Professional at-bat. If they want to make a move, he’s a guy that could certainly face a righty. It’s not like he hasn’t. We’re just trying to win games. I certainly think early in the season you need to be patient. At the same time, we weren’t really having a lot of success. We’re trying to use common sense. Sometimes that’s not the easiest thing to do during the middle of a game. But we’ll try to do the best we can.”

The one thing the Red Sox have entering this series is a fresh Hideki Okajima. The lefty hasn’t pitched since Monday.

Saturday night at Fenway

What will David Ortiz do tonight to build off his home run from last night? Seemingly, not much. The slugger found himself on the bench for the third time in four games. The Red Sox have run into a string of lefties of late.

Victor Martinez is serving as the DH because tomorrow is a day game and they want him to catch Tim Wakefield.

Speaking of Wake, it should be a pretty good storyline with him pitching, and knowing it’s going to be his last start for a while. Wakefield has been a loyal soldier. You have to feel bad for him getting bounced from the rotation after just two bad starts. At the same time, you understand why the club no longer wants to stunt Clay Buchholz’s development.

The way baseball tends to work out, I’m thinking Wakefield will find his way back into the rotation at some point this season.

J.D. busts out

Quite a night last night at Fenway from start to finish. It had it all. Tonight? Mike Lowell put one over the Monster, J.D. Drew busted out of his slump with a grand slam and Darnell McDonald added to his instant cult hero status by going deep again. Meanwhile, two slumping players — David Ortiz and Victor Martinez — are on the bench.

Drew had one homer and two RBIs coming into tonight’s game. He couldn’t have picked a better time to break out, as Josh Beckett had dug the Sox a 4-1 hole after two innings.

Before the game, Drew’s slump was a topic of conversation with manager Terry Francona in the media briefing.

What had been bothering J.D.?

“Kind of like David,” Francona said. “He’s got his body out ahead of him. J.D’s got some of the best hitters hands you ever see but when their hands come forward, there’s not a lot left to do anything with the ball. It’s easy to say, ‘hey, drive the ball the other way.’ Sometimes you get in a rut where you don’t feel you can do that. That’s because sometimes your body is out ahead of everything.”

This time, J.D. waited for his pitch, got it and was rounding the bases with his fifth career grand slam.

Cameron a late scratch; Hall to play center

When Mike Cameron limped through the clubhouse this morning to huddle with manager Terry Francona and trainer Mike Reinold, it was pretty apparent his name wasn’t going to be in the starting lineup very much longer. And moments later, he was out of the lineup, replaced in center by Bill Hall. Cameron has a lower abdominal strain. Obviously the Red Sox are short-handed in the outfield, as Jacoby Ellsbury is still out of the mix after hurting his left ribs in a collision on Sunday.

This is Hall’s first start in center since 2007, when he played there regularly. No word yet on how long Cameron will be out. And while the hope is that Ellsbury can play tomorrow at Fenway, that is far from a certainty. There’s at least a chacne the Red Sox might need an outfield reinforcement from Pawtucket for the start of the homestand.

Jeremy Hermida was originally on the bench today, replaced in left by Bill Hall. But that changed once Hall moved to center.

David Ortiz will get a rest today, with Mike Lowell drawing the start at DH against lefty Fransisco Liriano.

By the way, in case you were wondering if Ortiz had a steal sign or a hit and run sign when he was caught stealing on Wednesday, the answer would be, um, no.

“Neither,” quipped Francona. “That was re-established during the game.”

Game 2 of 162

Encore, anyone? It will be hard to top Sunday for pageantry, drama and everything else.

But back they are, the Sox and the Yankees, for the second game of this series, and their second game of the season.

When you score nine runs like the Red Sox did on Sunday, don’t expect any lineup changes, and there aren’t any.

It was a great Opener offensively for manager Terry Francona’s nine.The only two guys who didn’t get hits were Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, so perhaps they will get their firsts out of the way. Maybe Ortiz will take Burnett deep tonight and hit home run No. 1 on April 6 instead of May 20, like he did last year. Ortiz has three career homers off Burnett.

Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, won’t pitch until Sunday in Kansas City, which is nine days removed from his last spring start. To shake off any potential rust, he will throw a simulated game at Fenway tomorrow for three innings.

Father Farrell watches a hit

For just a moment on Friday afternoon, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell became father John Farrell.

In a classy gesture by the Pirates, they brought Minor League infield prospect Jeremy Farrell on board as a Minor League extra for Friday’s game against the Red Sox.

So with John Farrell watching intently from the dugout in the bottom of the seventh, Jeremy belted a single up the middle against Red Sox righty Jorge Sosa.

Though Farrell was fairly modest in his comments to reporters after, you can bet he was beaming with pride. So, too, was Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

“Was that great? I hate to root against our guys but that was pretty cool,” Francona said. “That was fun to watch.”

John Farrell’s take?

“You don’t get to see him very often but to see him in this setting is pretty special and we appreciate the Pirates for bringing him over for half a game,” Farrell said. “You like to see the aggressiveness about him. He looks to be in great shape. I know he loves what he’s doing. We’ll see where it takes him.”

As for Farrell’s job as pitching coach, the Red Sox have some juggling to do over the next couple of days. The club has split squad contests on both Sunday and Monday. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield draws Saturday’s home start vs. the Orioles. On Sunday, Jon Lester takes the ball at home against the Astros, while Felix Doubront pitches at Dunedin against the Jays.

Monday, Boof Bonser pitches at home against the Rays, with Michael Bowden drawing the Jupiter assignment against the Cardinals. John Lackey will also pitch Monday, in a Minor League game. Obvioulsy the Sox gain more from monitoring Bonser, a bubble candidate to make the team, up close, than Lackey, who has breezed through the spring.

“A guy like Bonser, we want him to pitch in an A game,” Francona said. “You’ll see some guys pitch over at the complex. We do that every year. Lackey is to the point where he’ll go get his work in and he’ll be in good shape and we can watch the other guys pitch.”

As for Friday’s game, David Ortiz and Jeremy Hermida both belted longballs, but they had some help from a friendly wind gusting out to right.

“David, real good swing,” Francona said. “Like you were kind of alluding to, though, today’s a day where if you elevate it, it’s going to leave the ballpark. If he got the barrel to it, it went out. It’s a difficult day to judge your pitching. [Junichi Tazawa] gets one and looks like it’s a lineout or a double and it’s a homer. That happens. But it also kind of re-affirms, throw strikes, keep the ball down.”

Meanwhile, Bill Hall took a solid step forward in his quest to show the Sox he can be a backup shortstop, among the other roles he will fill. Hall made all the plays and looked smooth in completing a double play.

 “I thought he had a good day,” Francona said. “I thought he had a real good day. I thought he moved his feet. That was good to see. I thought he did a good job.”