While David Ortiz assured that he will soon address last Thursday’s New York Times report that he failed a test for performance-enhancing substances in 2003, the reasons behind Ortiz’s delay in addressing the matter remained uncertain today.
But this much we do know: The baseball players union is not filing a motion on his behalf.
According to a baseball source familiar with the Ortiz proceedings, the Major League Baseball Players Association has not –- and will not -– take the legal steps to procure the 2003 test results that are currently part of a federal investigation. While it remains unclear as to whether Ortiz (or his representatives) would personally take such steps, Ortiz did acknowledge that the delay has resulted, at least in part, from his inability to gather information as quickly as he would like.
“I’m trying,” Ortiz said before tonight’s game between the Sox and Rays. “It’s frustrating, but I’m trying to get to the bottom of this.”
It was unclear why the union would not file on Ortiz’s behalf, but the MLBPA obviously must consider its overall membership in any decision, parsticularly with regard to the other 103 names on the list.
That said, there are obvious legal issues involving the information contained in the 2003 test results, the unauthorized release of which qualifies as felony. It is not unreasonable to think that Ortiz and his representatives are as focused on that aspect of the story given the potential long-term damage done to the player’s reputation.
Ortiz is absent from the starting lineup in favor of the righthanded-hitting Mike Lowell tonight against Rays lefty David Price. Manager Terry Francona said during his pregame briefing that the hope was for Lowell to play third base tomorrow night in New York with Ortiz returning to the designated hitter position against righthander Joba Chamberlain.
Other items from the clubhouse:
- Francona confirmed that the Sox have optioned out Josh Reddick and brought up lefthander Billy Traber, making room for him on the 40-man roster by designating infielder Gil Velazquez for assignment. Traber could be the first man out of the bullpen tonight if Brad Penny encounters early difficulty. Francona also indicated that Clay Buchholz, who is still scheduled to start on Saturday, also would be available in relief if necessary.
- Tim Wakefield threw a side session before the game, though he was not immediately available for comment. Francona expressed optimism that Wakefield would not need a rehabilitation assignment if and when he is ready to pitch, but Wakefield is still experiencing calf problems that would affect his ability to run and, among other things, cover first base.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw a side session next Tuesday, taking the first significant step for a potential return in September. Francona emphasized that that the Sox could bring back Matsuzaka on a shorter pitch count than normal come September because the Sox will have the benefit of a 40-man roster and, thus, a much deeper bullpen.