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Ortiz appeals ban; likely to face Orioles

He expects to play in Orioles rematch

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 16, 2011

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - David Ortiz filed an appeal of his four-game suspension with Major League Baseball yesterday. If history is any guide, it will be several weeks before officials rule on his case.

That means Ortiz is likely to be in the lineup Monday for a three-game series against the Orioles, the same team that made it a point to throw at Ortiz last weekend, sparking the brawl that led to the suspension.

As far as Ortiz is concerned, there should be no further incidents.

“Hopefully not,’’ he said. “Not from my side.’’

Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg threw three fastballs well inside against Ortiz in the eighth inning last Friday. When Ortiz flew out on the fourth pitch, Gregg shouted at him and the two began throwing punches.

Then on Sunday, Orioles reliever Mike Gonzalez threw behind Ortiz and was ejected. Ortiz just stood at the plate that time.

Gregg was suspended for four games and Gonzalez three. They also appealed.

“[Gonzalez] threw at me and you saw my reaction, what it was,’’ Ortiz said. “I was surprised they were still carrying the thing over. But let’s see. We have Major League Baseball always doing the right thing to make sure we don’t get into that too much. Everybody should turn the page.’’

Ortiz was asked the best way to react when a pitcher throws behind you.

“You get skinny like I did,’’ he said. “I get skinnier than [Andrew] Miller, our pitcher.’’

Then Ortiz got serious.

“A lot of things go through your mind. Sometimes you get kind of into a situation. You either act like you don’t care or you do what you’ve got to do. I got caught in a situation and you must move on.

“Trust me, I don’t play baseball that way. Sometimes there are some buttons that get to be pushed and you get caught up in that. It’s the kind of situation you don’t want to be involved in. It’s not what the fans come to watch and definitely you feel embarrassed.

“You don’t want anybody looking at you like you’re a punk. I’m a grown man and I respect everybody and that’s why I have a lot of friends around the league because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.’’

Sox manager Terry Francona does not expect any lingering animosity at Camden Yards.

“I wasn’t concerned last week. Sometimes things happen,’’ he said. “You don’t want to get carried away with what happened. You want to be carried away with trying to win the game.’’

Beckett ready Josh Beckett played catch in the outfield four hours before last night’s game and reported that his left knee felt fine. He has been cleared to start tomorrow night.

“Everything’s good, just like I said it was,’’ Beckett said.

Beckett hyperextended his knee July 8 and felt discomfort while warming up to pitch the second inning of the All-Star Game Tuesday. He stopped throwing at that point as a precaution.

“If it would have been a regular game, I would have pitched in it,’’ Beckett said. “It’s just tough, there’s a lot of things going on before the game. Maybe time is not always on your side. I never could get loose . . . I wasn’t comfortable going out there without my leg being loose.’’

Injury updates Jon Lester threw 45 times from 90 feet and is scheduled to throw from 120 feet today. After taking a day off tomorrow, he will throw in the bullpen Monday.

“He did really well. He felt nothing,’’ Francona said.

Lester has not pitched since straining the lat muscle on his left side July 5. He is eligible to come off the disabled list July 21, a scheduled day off. There are hopes he will be able to start the next day against the Mariners.

“I think he thinks he’s going to be ready to do that, which I’m thrilled,’’ Francona said. “I don’t know that. Again, when he pitches we’re not going to mess it up. There are a few things to think about.’’

Francona does not believe Lester will need a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Clay Buchholz is playing catch. But the righthander, on the DL with a back strain, has not yet started a more strenuous throwing program.

“Buch says he feels good,’’ Francona said. “Buch’s antsy, too. We more care about how he does when he throws.’’

Infielder Jed Lowrie is “much improved’’ in regaining strength in his sore left shoulder, according to Francona, and could start swinging a bat next week.

Dice-K visits Daisuke Matsuzaka has been at the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., rehabbing since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in June. He will spend a few days with the team while they are here to play the Rays. “Kind of nice to see him,’’ Francona said. Matsuzaka is facing 12-14 months of rehab and may never pitch for the Sox again as his contract expires after the 2012 season. “When I see the players playing well, I tend to want to hurry to get back to the team. But it’s kind of nice to stay away from the team and focus on what I have to do with the rehabilitation,’’ Matsuzaka said . . . Former University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer was at the game and exchanged pleasantries with Darnell McDonald. As an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Meyer once tried to recruit McDonald, a running back who was the Colorado player of the year as a high school senior in 1997.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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