Ortiz offers perspective on tensions

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Ortiz offers perspective on tensions

BOSTON As Fridays ninth-inning, bench-clearing brouhaha wound down, David Ortiz put his arm around Luke Scotts shoulder and walked Scott several steps toward first base.

Scott had just been hit by a Franklin Morales pitch with two outs and none on, inciting the melee.

In that case, after things happen, go like that, or whatever, you just want to settle things down, Ortiz said.

Ortiz took it upon himself to be the one to do that.

Well, I have a lot of people that they respect me in the game, Ortiz said. And they respect you for a reason and you want to try to keep it that way. And yeah, the incident happened. Luke got hit. And when Im trying to calm things down, this is what Luke told me: 'Papi if you were in my situation, what would you do? Would you be mad?' And I totally agree with him. Id be mad just like you are, but just move on, you know what Im saying? And he understand what I say. He just went down to first base.

But I have a lot of respect for the Tampa guys, the way they play the game, the way they go at it. The situation happened in the game. Me? Im not a big fan of situations like that going down. Manager, players sometimes have their reasons to do whatever they do. But I still have respect for those guys because those guys through the years have come along real good and played the game and do what theyve been doing. I know some of them and they got to go about their business. So hopefully everything will stay right there and we move on and turn the page.

Ortiz is not expecting any retaliations tonight.

Probably not tonight. I dont think, he said. Were still in the same series with things going down. But Im not a pitcher. Im a hitter and like I say, this situation, I dont think the fans come to see that. The fans come and watch us compete. Sometimes things get out of hand and later on you cant control it. But hopefully we just move on and come back and play the game the way we have.

What are the proverbial unwritten rules in this kind of situation?

I dont know them, Ortiz said with a laugh. I dont know them. I focus on hitting the ball and doing my thing. Theres a lot of things about the game that I get caught into and I dont have an answer for them.

Rays manager Joe Maddon made some very blunt comments after Fridays game, saying the situation reeked of intent, calling the Sox actions ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, incompetent, cowardly behavior.

Ortiz said he could understand those sentiments.

Because hes right to be mad about the situation, you know what Im saying, Ortiz said. Hes the manager of their ballclub and just like Bobbys the manager of our ballclub and they got a right to go at each other.

But these kinds of incidents are not new to these two teams. More than any other team, the Sox have had run-ins with the Rays. Dustin Pedroia was hit earlier in Fridays game. Last week, in the two-game set in Tampa Bay, Morales hit Will Rhymes and Clay Buchholz hit Scott in the first game. In the second game, Matt Moore hit Adrian Gonzalez, Felix Doubront hit Scott, and Vicente Padilla hit Rich Thompson.

Its not like its not going to happen because you got 25 guys here and you got 25 guys over there, Ortiz said. You try to have everybody on the same page, its not going to happen. Same over there. Things happen, back and forth, some guy looking for retaliation, some guy looking for, you know, ok, its not going to happen here, its not going to happen there. And later on in the game things happen. But those are things that they are not predictable. Its a lot of adrenaline going on, the flow of the game, get caught into it.

Ortiz was not surprised the benches emptied on Friday.

No, to be honest with you, he said. Me personally, I just saw the thing happen, and I was like Whoa, OK. And of course when you get hit you get mad, especially the way Luke Scott got hit. It was pretty obvious. Because my boy Morales miss one time and then hit him. Of course, youre going to get upset. To me in that situation, you throw at me, the first time, you hit me, its all great. But if you throw at me and miss me and then end up hitting me, Im going to do exactly the same thing he did and probably worse. Because you already got your chances.

Scott was hit on the fifth pitch of the at-bat. After Morales first pitch sailed behind Scott to the backstop, Rays players who were already in their clubhouse rushed to the dugout, in apparent anticipation of an incident.

They were expecting it, Ortiz said. It was a crazy situation. But like I said you dont want to get your pitching star out of their focus. We got Josh Beckett going in tonight, they got David Price going in tonight. These guys are aces who through the years what they focus on is getting hitters out, not hitting guys. Thats not their best game. So when you see guys hitting guys you got them out of their rhythm and hopefully thats not the case tonight.

Scott is on record with derogatory comments about Red Sox fans and Fenway Park. Still, Ortiz is surprised he has become such a villain in Boston.

To be honest with you, yes, yes, Ortiz said. Because like last night was the first time I saw on the TV things that he have said about them, and, man, hes such a nice guy. Hes very religious. He might have his reasons to say what he say. I dont know.

But like I say, hes a good guy and hopefully things get better and sometime people say things that hurt your feelings and you carry that over. Probably thats what happened to him.

But, Luke, we got the best fans on Planet Earth.

Ortiz prediction for tonights game?

I know were going to try to win, he said.

And what about more hit batters?

Im not a pitcher, I dont know. I dont throw the ball. Hopefully I dont get hit.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

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Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.

On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise's other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.

"He's my mentor, my big brother. He's everything," Ramirez said. "Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry."

He said his home run was in Big Papi's honor.

"Definitely, definitely, definitely," he said. "I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot."

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

"It was vintage Porcello," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout."

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Porcello said he isn't sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.

"Today was a step in the right direction," he said.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.