If David Ortiz is finally getting himself back to normal, he can thank Jacoby Ellsbury for the assist.
Ortiz wasn’t supposed to be in the lineup yesterday against the Twins in the debut of Target Field. Manager Terry Francona had planned to sit Ortiz — 2-for-18 on the season after a four-strikeout performance Sunday in Kansas City — and use Jeremy Hermida as the DH.
But when Ellsbury hurt his ribs late in Sunday’s game and couldn’t play yesterday, Ortiz was granted a reprieve. And after a fifth straight strikeout in his first at-bat, Ortiz finally showed a flicker of life, driving a Carl Pavano pitch to deep left field for an RBI double.
It was Ortiz’s most solidly struck ball of the young season, and may have been partly the result of another assist — from the local Minneapolis media. Before the game, Ortiz strongly denied a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report that he has been battling a sore left wrist.
“Don’t pay attention to that crap,” Ortiz told the Boston Herald before yesterday’s game. “I’m fine. If I’d have been raking they wouldn’t be saying that. I just can’t pay any attention to any this crap going on around me. The game is hard enough for people to be talking trash about you and you paying attention to it. You can’t listen to it.”
But the double — which could well have been caught by Delmon Young, who turned the wrong direction while chasing it and saw the ball clang off his glove — was followed by a strikeout against left-hander Brian Duensing in the seventh inning.
“It will come,” Ortiz said. “I just have to not think about it. I have to react. When I react, it’s easier for me than when I think about it. You’ve gotta work, man. That’s the only way to get back to the good feelings. That’s where I’m going right now.”