Notes: Ortiz claims DH RBI record

Notes: Ortiz claims DH RBI record
April 2, 2011, 10:57 pm
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By Sean McAdam

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Not all the news was bad for the Red Sox Saturday night.

David Ortiz blasted his second homer in as many games with a two-run shot in the second, and in his next at-bat, drove in another run with a groundout to the right side.

The three RBI gave Ortiz 1,004 in his career as a DH, topping the previous record held by Edgar Martinez at 1,003.

"When they mention your name with guys the caliber of Edgar Martinez,'' said Ortiz, "it makes you feel good. I don't think about it now when I'm playing. One day, I'll sit down and look at the numbers; right now, the focus is trying to win a game.''

Jessica Camerato's interview with David Ortiz

Last season, Ortiz didn't hit his second homer until April 30. The year before, it was June before he hit No. 1.

"That's good because I think it will help him relax,'' said Terry Francona. "I know how much he was pointing toward April. Let him him get his legs under him and hopefully he'll whack a few more.''

"You play the game and things happen,'' said Ortiz. "It's not like I tried to start the season slow the last two years. I think I got all the attention because of the player I've been as long as I've been here, and people expect me to do well. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just sometimes, things don't work out the way you expect and you have to keep fighting.''

Adrian Gonzalez continued his torrid start with three more hits -- two singles and a double -- giving him five in his first two games as a member of the Red Sox.

Carl Crawford wasn't so fortunate. After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his debut Friday, Crawford was 0-for-3, though he finally reached base with a walk in his final plate appearance.

"Once he gets on base a few times and creates some havoc, he'll be OK,'' predicted Francona. "He's trying too hard.''

Francona said he would stay with Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate Sunday in the series finale. There had been some thought that he would go with Jason Varitek -- the lone position player not to get into a game yet -- in a day game after a night game, but Francona stuck with Saltalamacchia.

"I want to get him going here a little bit,'' said Francona.

The manager believes in getting players into games quickly, so they can get acclimated and feel part of the roster early.

His decision is complicated by the fact that the Sox have an off-day Monday in Cleveland and bad weather if forecast for the three-game series with the Indians, which begins Tuesday.

"We'll see - I've got a lot of 'eitherors,' '' Francona said. "It goes both ways. You want regulars to get into a rhythm and bench guys to get at-bats.''

A club source confirmed that the Sox have released Jason Place, the team's first-round pick in 2006. Place was one of the few early-round draft busts in the Theo Epstein era.

Place, 22, selected 27th overall in 2006, had a hitch in his swing that he never could correct. Last season he played in just 38 games because of injuries and hit .134. with 4 homers and 14 RBI.

In five minor-league seasons, Place hit .234 and had a history of not getting along with teammates.

His release was first reported by

Clay Buchholz pitched an inning less than his fellow starters in his final Florida tuneup, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be limited when he makes his first start of the season Sunday in the series finale.

"He had one inning less than everybody else,'' noted Francona. "But he might end up throwing a complete game.''

Francona said the Sox will be monitoring "effort'' -- how hard he has to work -- rather than innings or actual pitch count.

Counting Friday's opener, lefty specialist Dennys Reyes had walked the leadoff hitter in three consecutive outings, cause for at least some concern.

Reyes came into Friday's game with one out in the seventh to face lefty-hitting Josh Hamilton and immediately walked him.

"It's better than the ball leaving the ballpark,'' said Francona. "Then again, there will be times when he pitches longer than that because I think he needs to. It's hard to ask guys to throw strikes if you're facing one hitter.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam