On July 30, The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that Ortiz and former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez were both among the 104 players who tested positive during the survey testing that took place during that 2003 season.
Ortiz, once he was apprised of the story by the Times, said that he had to call the Players Association to confirm that he did in fact test positive. Once Ortiz got that confirmation, he has been on a fact-finding mission to unearth what he tested positive for. What has complicated and prolonged the matter is that the federal government has been in possession of all 104 positive test results as part of an investigation.
Ortiz has long been outspoken against performance-enhancing drugs.
The slugger received a long round of boos from Yankees fans when he stepped in for his first at-bat on Thursday. This was hardly unexpected, considering the treatment Fenway Park fans have given to Yankees players linked to PEDs, including Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield.
Before the game, Ortiz was asked if he expected to hear the boo birds.
"Come on, man, where you been all these years? When you play for the Red Sox, you come to play at Yankee Stadium, what do you expect?" said Ortiz. "You tell me. Same thing [tonight]. It might be a little louder now, [but the] same thing."
Ortiz was asked how trying the situation has been for him since the story first broke.
"I'm not comfortable with it," Ortiz said. "But I can handle it."
Otherwise, Big Papi had very little to say. Seemingly weary of being asked to discuss the situation for the last week, Ortiz would rather just speak to the media once he has the facts.
Following a brief media session, Ortiz cranked the volume up on his iPod and walked away.
Entering Thursday's game, Ortiz had one hit in his previous 14 at-bats. Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't think it was related to the revelation about the 2003 test.
"I haven't noticed him being any different than he has in the past," said Francona. "I think any player, when you're sitting on hits, your personality is going to be a little bit different as opposed to what you just said, a 1-for-14 [slump]. I think he was a little frustrated the last day in Baltimore. Everyone was getting hits except him. I see him handling things very well."