BOSTON -- David Ortiz is not in the Red Sox starting lineup for the homestand finale Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays. The Sox designated hitter is getting a day off. Since being activated from the disabled list on April 20, he has played in all but three of the team’s 19 games.
After missing the first 15 games of the season with Achilles and heel ailments that had sidelined him since last season, the Sox look for ways to get him some rest. And with an off-day Monday, two days down could help.
But Ortiz has also been struggling lately. His third-inning single Saturday snapped an 0-for-17 slide. In the past five games he is just 2-for-21 (.095) with four strikeouts, one (intentional) walk, and no extra-base hits.
Before that recent stretch, Ortiz was hitting .426, going 23-for-59, with nine doubles, four home runs, 17 RBI, four walks, and eight strikeouts, for an eye-popping 1.272 OPS.
“When he was in that good stretch when he first started he was driving balls straight away left, left center, which he got back to yesterday with the base hit that he had,” said manager John Farrell. “But he’s squared some balls up that haven’t either found a hole and carried as they have when he first joined us. So I can't say that this is any one major issue that he’s dealing with mechanically.”
But, it has appeared that Ortiz has been dealing with some things emotionally. A recent column in the Boston Globe about Ortiz’s possible PED use has coincided with Ortiz’s slide.
“He gets off to a great start, goes into a little bit of a three- or four-game [stretch] where he might be pulling off the ball a little bit more than he did when he first re-joined us,” Farrell said. “There’s nothing abnormal here. We’d love to think that he’s going to hit .500 for the whole year, but that’s probably going to tail off at some point.”
Farrell said he has not specifically addressed Ortiz’s thoughts regarding the column or the DH’s mindset resulting from it with him.
“Much like any guy that comes in, just daily monitoring, conversations,” Farrell said. “Yeah, I’ve had multiple conversations with him over a period of time, not about any one thing in particular, just normal interactions.”