LOS ANGELES - David Ortiz stood by his comments regarding Alex Rodriguez's beaning by Ryan Dempster last week and insisted media reports had blown his comment out of proportion.
Ortiz told USA Today Wednesday that he disagreed with Dempster hitting Rodriguez last Sunday at Fenway, but not because Ortiz and Rodriguez are friends. Rather, Ortiz said, he believed the Red Sox succeeded in stirring the Yankees awake.
"Like I said, when I talked about this, I made very clear why I didn't like A-Rod getting hit at the time,'' said Ortiz. "If people want to make a big deal about it, I don't give a flying (expletive). That's me. I said what I feel and I tried to say it right. I'm here to win games; I'm not here to be mad at nobody.''
Asked if he felt the Yankees might seek retribution by drilling Red Sox hitters in the seven games remaining between the two teams, Ortiz was equally blunt: "That's up to them. I've got no control over that. At least they have a reason.''
Ortiz maintained that his comments were straight and to the point.
"All I said was that I didn't think that hitting A-Rod was right at the time,'' he said. "And it was because that kind of woke them up and we ended up losing the game. Did I lie about that? I think it was what everyone saw.
"I didn't say that I was mad at my teammate for hitting A-Rod, or I was mad because he hit A-Rod. No, no, no. I said it because I think we've got make sure to win every game possible. We've got Tampa breathing down our neck and they had already won that day. That's all I meant.''
Ortiz said he and Dempster had spoken and that the pitcher understood the context.
"He knows that I have nothing against him,'' said Ortiz. "That's my boy. He's my boy. But the thing is that we're here to back each other up and when I screw up as a teammate, they will let me know. He knows that. If he feels like he wants to do that, or whatever, fine. But he knows what happened after.
"I'm pretty sure he understands. It's not like we're trying to fight or I'm trying to be his dad. It's what we're here for. But I don't know why the (media) is making a big deal about it. I guess they've got nothing else to talk about. This isn't something to make a big deal out of. It is what it is.''
Manager John Farrell insisted that the flap won't impact the team.
"I don't think the comments David mentioned would have any linger effect on our clubhouse,'' said Farrell. "I do know this: that Ryan and David spoke Sunday night and I think, more than anything, David's comments were coming from the standpoint of not trying to give added incentive, regardless of who the opponent is at the time. And to maintain our approac of just going out and trying to win a ballgame on a given day.''