LOS ANGELES — David Ortiz said Friday his comments regarding Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last Sunday were not meant as criticism of his teammate.
Ortiz said his criticism was more about the timing of the incident and that it led to the Yankees coming back to beat the Red Sox.
“I didn’t like it. I don’t think it was the right thing to do,” Ortiz told USA Today on Wednesday. “But we don’t all think alike.”
When his comments became national news, Ortiz was surprised.
“I don’t know why they’re making a big deal out of it. I guess they don’t have anything else to talk about,” he said.
According to Sox manager John Farrell, Ortiz and Dempster spoke after the game about the now-infamous fastball that hit Rodriguez in the elbow.
“I don’t think the comments David mentioned will have any lingering effect on our clubhouse,” Farrell said before the Red Sox faced the Dodgers. “I do know this, that Ryan and David spoke Sunday night and more than anything David’s comments were coming from the standpoint of not trying to give added inceptive to the opponent regardless of who the opponent is at the time and just maintain our approach of going out trying to win a ball game on a given day.”
Dempster was suspended for five games because of the incident. On Friday, Dempster reported to Dodger Stadium early in the day for a workout and left before reporters were allowed in the clubhouse.
Ortiz, in a discourse that was at times angry, denied any issue with Dempster.
“All I said was that I don’t think hitting A-Rod was right at the time and that was because it kind of woke them up and we ended up losing the game,” Ortiz said. “Did I lie about that? I think that is what everybody saw.
“I didn’t say I was mad at my teammate for hitting A-Rod. No, no, no. I said it because I think you’ve got to make sure to win every game possible. You’ve got Tampa breathing on our necks and they already won earlier in that day. That’s all I mean. I didn’t mean anything else.”
Ortiz said he and Dempster have nothing to discuss and the issue was settled at the time.
“We already talked. He understands. He knows it’s nothing against him or anyone else. I respect my team; I respect everybody. When I talked about this subject, I said very clear why I didn’t like A-Rod getting hit at the time.
“If people want to make a big deal about it, I don’t [care]. That’s me. I say what I feel and I tried to say it right. I’m here to win games, I’m not here to be mad at nobody.”
The Red Sox have seven games remaining with Yankees, the next on Sept. 5 in New York. Is Ortiz worried about retaliation?
“That’s up to them. I’ve got no control over that. At least they have a reason,” he said.
• Ortiz, who left Wednesday’s game with a sore back, said he feels like and can play first base this weekend.
• Clay Buchholz threw in the bullpen and will fly back to the East Coast on Saturday. He will pitch for Single A Lowell on Sunday in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
• Matt Thornton faced teammates in a simulated game. The staff will decided on Saturday whether the lefthander will be activated on Sunday or sent to pitch a rehab game.
• Former Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford refused to speak to reporters this afternoon. Nick Punto was chatty, though.