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Ortiz a lean, mean fighting machine

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 22, 2010 01:02 PM

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Warning: This is the standard "Aging player reports to camp in great shape" story. Take it for what it's worth, which isn't much. If being in shape meant you could play baseball, Jack LaLanne would have been another Willie Mays.

FORT MYERS, Fla. ó David Ortiz looked fairly good when he reported to the Complex today. He has clearly lost some weight since last season and appeared to be in shape. The Red Sox asked him to work hard and apparently he did.

"I thought he looked good," Terry Francona said. "Real good. ... He looks trim and he looks strong and he looks ready to go."

Now 34, Ortiz is in the final year of his contract and has something to prove. He has not hit 30 or more home runs since 2007 and his batting average has fallen off a cliff along with his OBP, which was an anemic .332 last season.

""Iím very excited about this season. Iím positive. My focus right now is to do some damage," Ortiz said.

Asked about his improved condition, Ortiz smiled. "You should see me naked," he said.

Thanks, anyway.

Joking aside, there is significance to Ortiz being in better condition given his importance to the lineup and he could mean in the postseason. It's certainly better than the alternative.

"Hopefully everything will start up different," Ortiz said. "Iím not a beginning guy. Iíll tell you that right now. Iím an end of the season guy. ... ďI think people give up on me too early, too fast, start talking about age and all that kind of stuff."

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