Ortiz' aim: Break slump, resume playing regularly

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Ortiz' aim: Break slump, resume playing regularly

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

David Ortiz says he's not used to being platooned and wants to go back to playing every day -- and is willing to leave Boston to do so -- but his first priority is getting out of an early season slump that, for the second year in a row, has choked off his production.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Comcast SportsNet New England's Jessica Moran that aired Friday night on SportsNet Central, Ortiz said, "My mindset right now is to change things around. And I know this ballclub counts on me a lot and I got to bring it back . . .

"I'm a team player. I'm a team guy. I try not to be selfish."

But he also said that his playing status is "something that, at some point, has to change."

"It's not easy. I'm not going to lie to you," Ortiz told Moran about being platooned. "It's something I guess I got to get used to for a while . . . but, to tell you the truth, you don't get 100 percent out of me. It's hard to stay sharp like that . . . "

When referring to "100 percent," Ortiz was referring to results and not effort.

"That's what I'm used to, you know," he said of playing regularly. "That's what I'm used to. And that's how I get out of trouble. Playing, and seeing pitchers, and seeing the ball and swinging at it."

It's clear Ortiz expects to go back to playing regularly if he begins hitting again, and would ask to be traded if his status didn't change.

"Well, if you don't play here, you got to play somewhere else. That's how it goes," he said when asked if could see himself playing in another uniform. . "Hopefully not. This is my life right here, but what else can I say? . . .

"I want to finish my playing time here," he said. "I love this town, I love the people around here, I love the fans, everybody . . . But you know how this goes. Sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes it's not what you expect, sometimes people aren't happy with what you do, and things change."

But one thing that hasn't changed: His belief in himself.

"Oh, yeah," he said with a laugh when asked if he still had something left in the tank. "Oh, yeah."

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.