On Papi's angry answers

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On Papi's angry answers

Thanks to the Celtics, I'm just getting caught up on this David Ortiz story.

If you missed it, last night after the Sox comeback win Ortiz was asked about the player's only meeting that he called last week. One in which he allegedly addressed the pitching staff not carrying its weight (resisting fat joke), and has in some ways been credited for the Sox recent turn around.

His response, as they say in the Dominican, was absolutely ridiculous.

"Let me tell you, I was reading an article that talked about the leaders people call 'leaders' in this town," Ortiz said. "Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it's not good enough ...And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?"

He continued: "I don't get no respect. Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It's always hiding, for somebody to find out."

Yikes, Davey. And he wasn't done there, but nothing else he said really expounded on the basic point. Essentially, that Ortiz doesn't think he gets enough credit not from the fans, the media or the front office for being a leader in the Sox clubhouse because most of his work is done behind the scenes and he doesn't care who finds out.

Now obviously his reasoning is a little flawed. What Papi said pretty much amounts to making an anonymous donation and then getting pissed when the guy who signed his check gets all the attention. But whatever, I don't want to pick on Ortiz. The guy's had a great season, and I'm sure this fact has only heightened his aggravation over not getting that long term deal. And after all, it's not really up to me or anyone else to judge who the leaders are on that team.

I'm obviously not in the clubhouse, and even the guys who are don't get to see what really goes on. I'm sure they hear stories, and pick up pieces here and there, but no one knows exactly how much Ortiz means and has meant to that team behind the scenes except for the players and coaches who are actually there.

But for the sake of conversation, here are three reasons that despite how long he's been around and how much he's accomplished between the lines I've never really considered David Ortiz to be a great leader inside that clubhouse.

1. He's spent the last few years publicly bitching mid-season about the lack of a long term deal.

2. Last season, he barged into his manager's press conference to cry about the disappearance of one RBI.

3. Last October, in the aftermath of one of the worst collapses in baseball history, Ortiz said this about playing in Boston: "There's too much drama, man. There's too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don't know if I want to be part of this drama for next year."

Now, I could be wrong. And the fact that he did call that player's only meeting, and that it seems to have garnered a pretty significant response, suggests that I am. That we are. That maybe the fans, the media and the entire organization is sleeping on how much positivity Ortiz creates behind the scenes.

But even if his clandestine leadership tactics deserve more respect, there's no question that his leadership in the public arena has repeatedly come up short.

Like the time when he was asked about calling a team meeting that may have helped turn around the season, and turned into sob story about no one in the world respects him.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.