Ortiz appreciates Twins' new ballpark

Ortiz appreciates Twins' new ballpark

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was obvious which Boston player had the most appreciation for the opening of Target Field on Monday. Before David Ortiz became a star with the Red Sox, he broke in with the Minnesota Twins, playing his home games at the Metrodome from 1997-2002.

"I remember when I was here, people were talking about coming out with a new stadium -- 14 years ago," Ortiz said. "And they finally came out with it. But I think it's the perfect time. It can't get any better, with the team that they have."

The only thing that saddened Ortiz on Monday is that his good friend -- the late, great Kirby Puckett -- couldn't be on hand to witness the unveiling of the new park.

"I was talking to my boy about it yesterday, and today, when I was driving in, just how great he was for this Twins organization and everything he did," said Ortiz. "And all the good things that I saw that he did, to be a better baseball player. That's one of the main reasons that I wear 34, is for him. Yeah, I thought about him a lot today."

Ortiz entered Monday's game in the throes of an early-season slump. He struck out four times on Sunday, and came to Minnesota with a .111 average. However, Ortiz denied an assertion in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that his wrist is bothering him.

"Don't listen to what people say," Ortiz said. "I feel good, man."

Did manager Terry Francona think about sitting Ortiz on Monday?

"You know what? Like I always do, when I woke up hourly, I thought about a lot of things," Francona said. "I'm trying to just be patient, especially with Jacoby [Ellsbury] out. [Bench coach] DeMarlo [Hale] and I sat around yesterday looking at a lot of different things."

Ortiz batted fifth, as he has in all six of his starts this season. The designated hitter was not in the lineup on Saturday. After striking out in his first at-bat, he hit an RBI double in the fourth inning.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.