Left is right for Papi

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Left is right for Papi

David Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a home run in last night's win over the Royals, and in the process reinforced his title with apologies to the time Bobby V. forgot Matt Albers name as the undisputed "best story" of this otherwise awful season.

Through 28 games, Ortiz is now hitting .380 (which ranks second in the AL behind Derek Jeter) with seven home runs (4th in the AL), 12 doubles (2nd) and 23 RBI (4th). He also leads the American League with a .443 .OBP.

Not bad for a guy everyone was ready to ship off to the glue factory, eh?

Of all the unexpected greatness, the most surprising comes against lefties; a situation where Ortiz was just about useless for a long stretch of his career.

In 2008, Ortiz he hit .221 against south paws. In 2009, he hit .212. In 2010, .229.

But last year, something clicked.

All of a sudden, Ortiz's average exploded to .329. And this year, he's in another stratosphere, hitting .432, with four of his seven homers coming against left-handers.

While I'm sure he won't keep the pace up all season, the fact that he's even kept it up this long seems to defy everything we thought we knew about the guy.

So, what's his secret?

In the words of Gun N Rose: Welcome to the Jungle!!!

No, wait. I mean: Just a little patience.

It was just about making sense of it, going back to being patient, Ortiz said recently. Lefties were getting me out, but it wasnt them getting me out, it was me getting myself out. I was chasing pitches you just dont hit. The difference between that time and now is that Im not chasing those pitches."

And you can expect much of the same tonight, when Ortiz takes the plate against Royals left-hander Danny Duffy against whom Papi's a career 2-for-2 with two doubles.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)