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.''

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.

 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.