As it was for most of the the Boston Red Sox players, 2012 was a year to forget for David Ortiz. Amid the team’s well documented struggles on the field and off, Big Papi was battling through an Achilles injury that caused the slugger to play in only 90 games. Even then, Ortiz managed a .318 BA, 21 HR and 60 RBI, a decent full season for most major league ballplayers.
The ‘disagreements’ with former manager Bobby Valentine are well documented and Ortiz has seemed to put these issues behind him.Sure, he had his time this past winter to vent to various people and media outlets about Valentine, but Ortiz is looking at 2013 as a fresh start.
He has a new multi-year contract, a new outlook and the old smile back.
“Me and Pedey(Dustin Perdroia), we are the core of this ballclub,” Ortiz said. “We might not be too much into talking, but we try to do whatever it takes to win ballgames. People call leaders the guys who probably talk too much, or show a lot of emotion, but I say it’s totally the opposite. Of course, you pull your teammates aside and let them know what’s up sometimes, but it’s more of what they see you doing than what you say.”
The attitude and outlook from Big Papi is refreshing because he is not just coming off an injury plagued season. The group of players that are back are coming off a last place finish, something Ortiz is not used to. Prior to last season, the Red Sox with Ortiz had won at least 86 games every season. Last season, they won 69.
This year’s Red Sox roster is probably not going to scare most. In fact, one Vegas line had them at an over under of winning 75 games, which is a place they probably want to be–not the front-runners everyone else is gunning for. But these Sox have the core of solid players back and new additions that promises to make for a very interesting preseason battling for spots on the roster, the batting order and the pitching rotation.
Gone is the former manager, but returning is the new manager/old pitching coach, who has bathed in the glory of Sox teams past and one who has not personally seen the past two seasons, where the talk around the clubhouse was of undermining, questioning and turmoil instead of who was the hero in the last victory.
As of now, David Ortiz is progressing nicely and expects to be at full strength for opening day in April–April Fool’s Day, no less. In the Bronx. And Big Papi will be smiling smiling once again.