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More interleague games bad news for Big Papi

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  November 17, 2011 02:16 PM

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MILWAUKEE Today's announcement that the Houston Astros would join the American League in 2013 was bad news for David Ortiz.

Here's why:

With 15 teams in each league, there will have to be an interleague series throughout the season. What is likely to happen is that teams will play 30 interleague games instead of the current 18.

That means 15 interleague road games without a designated hitter instead of nine. And that's trouble for Ortiz.

Ortiz has played a grand total of 12 games and 78.2 innings in the field over the last four seasons. He is not wholly inept at first base and in fact has pretty good hands. But Ortiz has little range and the risk of injury is increased. He also will be 37 by the start of the 2013 season.

Once the Astros are in the AL, an AL team will play 9.25 percent of its games without a DH. That's not insignificant.

The Red Sox played a nine-game stretch of interleague road games this past season. Ortiz was 0 for 11. He started two games and pinch hit in six others.

He then hit .242/.353/.444 over the 26 games that followed and blamed his slump on the lack of at-bats he had from the interleague games and All-Star break.

Ortiz is seeking a multi-year contract. The addition of those extra interleague games in 2013 and beyond could serve to diminish his value or lead to teams questioning signing such a one-dimensional player.

(Hat tip to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, whose Tweet inspired this post.)

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