Ortiz shoulders leadership role

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Ortiz shoulders leadership role

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Every year for the last 10 years, Red Sox ownership has been addressing the organization on the first day of spring training full-squad workouts.

Saturday, for the first time, a player joined them in addressing the team.

Veteran DH David Ortiz, unannounced, added some remarks at the end of the meeting. He praised the Red Sox ownership group and encouraged his teammates to show pride in wearing the Sox uniform.

"The reason why I stepped and said something,'' said Ortiz afterward, "was for the new players to get the right idea about what we're trying to do this year.''

In the aftermath of Tim Wakefield's retirement and the absence of Jason Varitek, Ortiz is now the longes-tenured Red Sox player in the clubhouse. That, he admitted, played a part in his decision to speak out.

"I'm one of the older guys here,'' said Ortiz. "We have these meetings and we never step up and say things. We do nothing but listen. But today, I think it was a good time for us as players to make sure that our owner doesn't feel guilty about the job that they do.

"I think they did a hell of a job last year, putting a good team together. After that, it's not on them; it's on us. Everybody wants to call out Mr. Henry or Larry Lucchino or Tom Werner and at the end of the day, there's nothing else that they can do but do what they did last year -- pick up good players and bring them to the organization. After that, it's on us.

Ortiz told teammates that "wearing 'Red Sox' on your shirt and the jersey, you've got to be proud of that. You've got to be absolutely proud of it because of the history of the organization. Hopefully, everyone takes that personally and (will) be responsible.

"We're employees here. We have rules to follow and we have a boss and we have to do what he wants us to do.''

According to several people in the room, Ortiz's remarks were greeted with a loud ovation.

Now, he hopes the message takes.

"I don't want people to get the wrong idea here,'' said Ortiz. "We have a lot of guys trying to win games. We have a lot of guys busting their asses just to do the right thing. The situation that we faced, it ended up not being what people expected it to be. But we have tons of guys here who care and they want to make things happen so this organization can come out on top.''

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

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Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”