BOSTON -- Responding to the mini-controversy that arose over the weekend following the John Lackey-Buck Showalter barbs over Nelson Cruz, PED use and David Ortiz, Red Sox manager John Farrell Tuesday came out in support of his veteran slugger.
"The 2003 test [is what's] being referred to,'' said Farrell, "I don't know how many times David has been tested since then. Whatever that number is, I'm sure it's a very high one. He's tested clean every single time. It's unfortunate that the innuendo continues to follow him.
"He's a heck of a player, one hell of a hitter and there's no reason other than hard work and talent that's produced that.''
The dust-up began over the weekend when Lackey, who could barely hide his contempt, spoke dismissively of Orioles DH/outfielder Nelson Cruz. Cruz was suspended for 50 games last season for his part in the Biogenesis scandal.
“I’m not even going to comment on him,'' sniffed Lackey after Cruz went 3-for-3 with a homer and double against him Saturday night. "I’ve got nothing to say about him. There’s things I would like to say but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
The following day, Showalter, when asked for his reaction, responded cryptically: "He might want to be careful . . . everybody needs to make sure their own backyard is clean.''
On Monday, Ortiz happened to be watching the MLB Network when one of the hosts suggested that Showalter had been referencing Ortiz, whose name was leaked to the New York Times several years ago as one of the players who showed up on a list of those who had tested positive when MLB conducted provisional PED testing in 2003.
“What pisses me off is the whole thing about, why does my name got to be mentioned in that?,” Ortiz told WEEI.com. “What did I have to do with that? I saw on MLB the guys talking about it, and then they brought my name up, and one of the guys said that I got a free pass on that. It was the Lackey and Showalter thing, going back and forth. Showalter didn’t say anything about me.”