SARASOTA, Fla. – Red Sox manager John Farrell is grateful David Ortiz has signed a contract extension and will remain in the middle of his order for at least two more years.
“It looks like he’s going to finish his career with the Red Sox. It’s amazing to me that he performs at the level he does. He’s critical to our offense nightly. The potential of him going elsewhere has been put to rest. Great thing for everyone involved,” Farrell said Monday before the Red Sox’ spring game vs the Orioles.
Farrell praised Ortiz’s influence in the clubhouse.
“You walk by and he’s got a group around him. When he speaks, people listen. He’s had so much success and a set of experiences that players look for him as a sounding board and to gain confidence. He walks in and all eyes go to him.”
Farrell agreed Ortiz may be a better pure hitter in his old age.
“I would agree to that. What he’s done against lefthanded pitching, and maybe that was when Adrian (Gonzalez) was here there was a lot of conversation about that. Watch his routine. It’s not a mistake he hits the ball the other way vs. lefties. He’s got an understanding of what opposing lefties are doing against him. Looking back to 2010, the performance vs. lefties was nowhere near to what it had grown to in 11 and 12.”
Farrell doesn’t think Ortiz will need more time off.
“I hope not,” Farrell said. “He surpassed the consecutive games played last year and he felt great. He played with energy and had fun. Nothing to suggest to date that we would be looking at less games played. We have interleague to contend with, but we hope he’s in our lineup every day.”
The Red Sox are still having an internal debate about Brandon Workman and whether he’s better off in Pawtucket as starter every fifth day or in Boston’s bullpen?
The Red Sox likely will have one bullpen opening if Craig Breslow starts the season on the disabled list.
“Um … well ..,” is how Red Sox manager John Farrell started his answer. “The delay suggests no [the debate hasn’t ended], only because of what our needs might be. Could he occupy a spot in the rotation? Yeah I think he could. I’m of the firm belief he can be in our starting rotation. Starter innings as opposed to middle relief innings are much more valuable and guys who can do that, there are less of them than guys who can pitch out of the bullpen.
“But right now we have five starters,” added Farell.
Workman started out slowly but has upped his game recently.
“He’s gotten better with command with shape to his cutter, good curveball, he’s getting the ball down in zone more consistently. With each outing his execution is more consistent,” Farrell said.
This is Workman’s first camp. He was in minor-league camp last season and started the season in Double-A Portland.
“Coming into camp, he probably knows there’s a competition for something where he’s got to perform to where he finished last season. You try to put their concerns at ease, but they know something is on line every time he goes out there,” Farrell said.
Farrell said there wasn’t any change in Grady Sizemore’s schedule, but because of different scenarios, it might have been portrayed wrong to the media. Sizemore has today off and then begins his three-day run of games Tuesday.
Farrell assured the media there had been no setback.
Farrell also said he’s trying to get Mike Carp time at third, Daniel Nava more time in center (he played there Sunday in an intrasquad game). He also wants to get Shane Victorino time in center field.