DETROIT — With David Ortiz taking a seat on the bench with lefthander Dontrelle Willis on the mound, the Red Sox’ designated hitter was relaxed and in the mood to talk before today’s game against the Tigers. Not only did he tell a number of stories to the assembled media, but he admitted to considering unconventional methods to get out of his season-long slump – he’s batting .187 with one home run and 20 RBIs.
Step one, go to an eye doctor.
“You know what? I’ve been thinking about getting my eyes checked, for real,” said Ortiz, who occasionally wears glasses. “There have been some situations that something has happened to my eyes, my vision. But I’m planning on getting my eyes checked out sometime soon . . . just to make sure.
“We get our eyes checked every year. I’m 20-20. Go and check it out. It’s not anything big. I will, though. I seriously will.”
Step two, play like you’re a kid.
Though Ortiz didn’t know if he could put this method into effect, he said his father (Enrique) had a bit of advice for him on getting out of the slump.
“He talked to me about, sometimes, ‘I know you take this job too serious,’ ” Ortiz said. “But sometimes you’ve got to go back to those Little League days when you used to go to the field and play, like just be happy. I say, ‘Pop, I wish I could, but I can’t. Too old for that.’
“I’m way too old for that, man. Those days are over. Even if you wanted to. He said, ‘I’m not telling you you’ve got to do it every day. But you can try some time. Just show up at the field and don’t do nothing but go and play.’ I can’t. I’ve got to come in, go workout, do my thing, get prepared. There’s no way I can come and sit down and just go out and play.”
Ortiz said he feels good, and that he has been doing his best not to get too down after each disappointing at-bat, including an out to the deepest part of Comerica Park Wednesday.
“It’s human nature,” he said. “When you fight, fight, fight, fight, and you don’t see good results, you’re going to get upset for a minute. But you’ve got to let it go.
“[Manager Terry Francona] told me how much he believes in myself, all this stuff that we’ve been through together, and how he wants me to deal with it,” Ortiz said, adding that it was particularly difficult to have good swings and little to show for them. “[Francona] said, ‘You know, I went through a lot in my whole career and it was hard for me. So days like that [for] you might be the first time in your career that you’re going through something like this. It’s got to be even worse because you’re not used to that. So I want to make sure you mentally are positive and ready to go.’ ”
There’s that advice, and then there’s a little bit more from Ortiz’s father: “Like my Pops says, ‘If you let it go, two things are going to happen. You’re going to get yourself out like you have been, or you’re going to get a hit. It can’t get no worse.'”