Red Sox slugger David Ortiz spoke with the "Dale and Holley Show" on sports radio WEEI.com this afternoon while promoting his ongoing golf tournament in the Dominican Republic, an event that directly supports the David Ortiz Children's Fund in providing access to pediatric care for children in New England and his native country.
While confirming that Red Sox players do indeed call Dustin Pedroia "El Caballito," Ortiz also offered a couple of other notable insights during the conversation:
On Dustin Pedroia's new six-year, $40.5 million contract extension:
"Let me tell you, Pedroia this year was the heart and soul of Red Sox. A guy like him, not just in baseball, [he's the kind of person you like to have] around. He gets loud, he will wake you up. And the way he plays the game is the same way he deals with things off the field, but in a good way. He's respectful."
On what he thought of Pedroia during his first days with the Red Sox in 2007:
"At the beginning, he was a little quiet. That's the way it usually goes. You get to know everybody, get to know what you can say and what you cannot. The first time I saw him, I said, 'Who's this little guy?' and then he hits a line drive over the pitcher's head. . . . Tito [manager Terry Francona] deserves credit [for sticking with him when he was struggling as a rookie.] Next thing you know, he's hitting .300, the next thing you know, he's winning rookie of the year. Then he came in this year with a little more confidence, and next thing you know, he's winning the MVP."
On his lasting feelings about the 2008 season:
"I wasn't happy about the way it finished, but at the same time I was very pleased with the way we dealt with injuries, not having our everyday team out there. [Josh] Beckett was pitching with a bad rib, Mikey [Lowell] was out, J.D. [Drew was] having back problems, myself having problems with my hand . . . we dealt with it, and we still got to be one game away from going to World Series."
On the injury problems he endured last season, and how he's feeling right now:
"I missed two months [with a wrist injury] and it was not like a simple injury. My top hand was off, and I wasn't 100 percent when I came back. If I would have played those two months without being injured, I'd have had 30 [homers] and 100 [RBIs] . . . I know people [wonder if I can come back, saying] 'Papi this, Papi that.' People don't realize injuries are a situation that is hard to control, but I don't want to take myself out of the lineup. I'm going to keep fighting even if I'm not 100 percent. I want my teammates to know that even if I'm hurting, I'm not going to give up on them. But the wrist is coming along good [I feel healthy] and I'm going to be out there fighting with them [next season]."
On comments he made earlier this offseason saying the Sox need to add another 30-homer hitter:
"The more hitting you can get, the better it is going to go in the season . . . I'm just a player who makes a comment, and I talk to Theo sometimes, but they know better, you know."
On calling to congratulate Pedroia on his new contract:
"You know what he told me? ' Well, it feels good, being rich like you.' "