BOSTON – David Ortiz insists his swing still isn’t where he would like it to be. Even so, the Red Sox would be more than happy if it stays right where it is.
Ortiz went 3-for-4 Thursday night with his first home run of the season, three runs scored and two RBI, as the Sox beat the Astros, 7-2. In five games he's played since he was activated from the disabled list on Saturday, he is batting .550 (11-for-20) with a slugging percentage of .850 and an on-base percentage of .571.
“He’s awesome,” said Clay Buchholz, who was the beneficiary of Ortiz’s production as he improved his record to 5-0. “He’s a threat and everyone knows it."
“It’s remarkable, the timing that he’s displayed, particularly after the layoff that he’s had,” said manager John Farrell. “I think even guys in the dugout are marveling at what he’s been able to do . . . not only contact but driving the baseball."
And as if to prove that his right Achilles and both heels, which had kept him sidelined, are fine, Ortiz went from first base to third on Mike Carp’s single to center with one out in the Sox’ two-run fifth inning.
"Once again, he’s pressed to run the bases and feels good,” said Farrell.
"It’s awesome to see him running and take two bases on a single,” said Buchholz. “Everyone was screaming and yelling (in the dugout). It’s a confidence builder for everyone that he’s able to do that."
“It feels good,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things that I got to go through so I can get used to it. And it feels fine. It feels fine. Once I do that I get more comfortable and [in] my mind I’m just realizing I got to continue doing things like that.”
Ortiz led off the third with his first home run of the season, a blast to straightaway center field. It was his first homer since last July 13 at Tampa Bay, and first at Fenway since last June 27.
He also extended his hitting streak to 17 games -- the longest of his Red Sox career, and second personally only to a 19-gamer he had with the Twins in 2002. In that 17-game span, which dates back to last July 2, Ortiz is batting .475 (28-for-59) with 3 home runs, 5 doubles, 11 RBI, and 14 walks.
Still, he insists his swing is not quite there yet.
“It’s going to get there at some point,” he said. “I’ve been putting good swings on the ball and things been happening. But it’s a little different than what I can explain to you guys when it comes down to feeling at the plate. It’s just some pitches when you are locked up at the plate, they’re not going to be hit, they’re going to be homers. And when you’re not there sometimes they’re going to be outs, sometimes they’re going to be rollovers, sometimes they’re going to be just singles. So it’s a process.”
Just as it’s a process in becoming confident that his Achilles and ankle won’t betray him.
“At some point I’m going to be able to not have to worry about it,” he said. “It’s getting better."
And that home-run swing?
“It feels good. I crushed it,” he said with a smile.