David Ortiz was not worried when he was 1 for 19, saying spring training statistics were meaningless.
After going 2 for 2 today with a walk and a two-run homer, Ortiz didn’t throw up his hands in celebration. That would have been disingenuous and he knew it.
“I can’t believe you guys are kind of getting encouraged,” he said when reporters crowded around his locker.
What was encouraging is that Ortiz hit a 3-1 slider from Brad Bergesen for his homer. That’s not a pitch you would expect in that count. But Ortiz kept his hands back, let the pitch get in his kitchen and drove it out to right field. Sure, it was a windy day. But he got the ball up in that wind.
Ortiz had been lunging at those pitches in previous days, something he has worked to correct.
“I’m feeling better. I feel like I jump less. That’s what I need to do. When I jump, I put myself in situations. When I jump, I move forward too fast. So I go and get the pitch and not let the ball come to me,” he said.
Fans look at spring training statistics and get edgy when a player isn’t performing well. Managers and hitting coaches look at swings, balance, pitch selection and the other components that go into a good at-bat. If those are present, the numbers will take care of themselves over the course of time.
Ortiz was asked if the results today pleased him. He smiled.
“Oh, you guys are going to get some results, believe me,” he said. “It ain’t over yet.”