MINNEAPOLIS -- Slow starts are officially a thing of the past for David Ortiz.
Following two dreadful starts to the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Ortiz got off on the right foot last year, and this season, he's making that look like a mere warmup.
Ortiz had two more hits and three RBI in Tuesday's 11-2 laugher over the Minnesota Twins, and in the process, set a Red Sox record for the most number of hits (28) after the first 16 games in a season.
He's hitting a scorching .444 for the year and leads the Red Sox with 15 RBI, or nearly one per game.
The DH has reached base safely in 15 of the first 16 games and has multiple hits in seven of his last 10 games, during which time he's batting .525 (21-for-40) with six doubles, three homers and 13 RBI in those 10 games.
Asked if this was as locked-in as he's ever felt in the first month of the season, Ortiz quickly snapped: "No." Then, pausing for a moment and adding a sly smile, he amended his answer.
"Maybe," he said. "Early in the season, you just take what they give you and move on, man."
Indeed, Ortiz is using all parts of the field. In the first inning, with runners at the corners and the Twins shifted over, Ortiz simply slapped a single down the third base line, scoring Dustin Pedroia.
Then, in the third, he hammered a pitch from Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn over everything in right, a belt that was estimated at 429 feet.
"I didn't learn how to hit yesterday," he said. "I've been doing this for years. I'm just taking what they give you."
Ortiz has been so hot for the past week that teammates have been playfully ribbing him in the dugout.
"I keep telling him to keep his head up," joked Mike Aviles, "and that balls are going to start falling for him one of these days. In all honesty, it's impressive. They shift him, and he hits a ground ball to third. It doesn't matter where they're playing him these days. He's seeing the ball well and he's been a mainstay in this lineup for a long, long time.
"He's one of the rare game-changers in this game and he's off to a great start."