Red Sox slugger has solid numbers against O's lefty, but has struggled with southpaws in '15
By Todd Karpovich
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE -- David Ortiz strode into the Red Sox's clubhouse Wednesday and grew agitated when asked about manager John Farrell's decision to keep him out of the starting lineup against Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
That reasoning ultimately came down to the Boston slugger's struggles against southpaws, where he is 8-for-70 (.114) with 14 strikeouts in 33 games this season.
Still, Ortiz apparently was not happy and kept his back to the media as he put on his uniform and shook his head before quietly saying, "I'm not playing today. What do you want me to tell you?"
Finally, Ortiz turned toward a few reporters and was more direct about sitting on the bench, despite batting .308 with a homer and six RBIs in his career against Chen.
"That's something like I said ... you have to ask the manager," Ortiz said. "I am not the manager here. I'm just the player. I do what [I'm] told. I'm not playing today, so I'm here in case he needs me later."
Then, he stood and walked across the clubhouse toward the dugout. Later, Farrell offered more details about his decision.
"Left-hander on the mound, and for the time being, we are trying to get David going against the lefties," Farrell said. "You look at what he's doing against righties and it's exactly the same of what he did a year ago when he was probably 20 percent of our overall offense. Yet, we're trying to get him back on track against some left-handers."
Hanley Ramirez, who left Tuesday's night's game after fouling a pitch off his left knee, served as the designated hitter. However, Farrell said Ramirez was fully capable of playing left field.
Ortiz has been solid once again against right-handers, batting .278 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. Farrell simply wants him to get back on track against southpaws and that is going to take some work in the batting cage. However, Farrell declined to get into the specific adjustments Ortiz needs to make.
"David is a pro and he understands there is some work to be done to get back to the normal levels against left-handed pitchers," Farrell said.
Farrell told Ortiz about his decision following a 1-0 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday night. In that game, Ortiz went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He was batting .219 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 106 at-bats entering Wednesday.
"He understood it," Farrell said. "I think out of respect of every player you try to inform them the night before what the next day's lineup was going to be. No different with David."
Farrell also liked having Ortiz available as a pinch-hitter if Baltimore goes with a righty out of the bullpen.
"We've got him now flexible if there's a matchup late in the game when we can match him up against a right-hander," Farrell said. We're looking to do that."
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.