Red Sox

Ortiz: Final All-Star Game 'something I'm never going to forget'

Ortiz: Final All-Star Game 'something I'm never going to forget'

BOSTON - With his feet and heels aching daily and more maintenance than ever necessary for him to prepare to play games, David Ortiz could use a four-day vacation next week.

But the fact that he's been selected as the starting DH for the American League All-Star team next week in San Diego is regarded by Ortiz as a blessing and not a curse.

"The All-Star game is always fun,'' said Ortiz, who will appear in his 10th mid-summer classic. "This will be my last year playing and I think it's something that can turn out to be very special. Having a break is great, but it's not like I'm going to go to another All-Star game as a player. It is what it is. There's a lot of people who would like to see you out there. That's something that, me personally, I really appreciate that people take the time to vote for myself and my teammates.

"Four days of rest and chilling is good, but this All-Star game, I'm going to try to enjoy it the most. It's going to be my final year playing and there's not going to be another time. I'm just going to go out there and make sure that the fans who voted for David Ortiz enjoy watching me and go through the whole celebration.''

Ortiz entered Tuesday's action second in the American League in RBI, third in total bases, first in doubles, first in extra-base hits and first in slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Even at age 40, Ortiz is going out on at the top of the game.

"That's great, '' said Ortiz. "That's what every player looks for. I have seen some other players in their final season -- Mariano [Rivera], Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken - be part of the game. As a player you look at it like, 'I made it.' Because not every player is going to be part of the All-Star game (in their final year). It's something I'm never going to forget.''

Ortiz, of course, announced last November that this will be his final season, but now that the season has passed the halfway mark, the All-Star game will represent a direct reminder that the finish line isn't far off.

"It definitely will be (a time to take stock),'' said Ortiz. "After every game on the calendar, you mark it with an 'X.' You start putting little thoughts in your head. There's some cities that we've already gone that I'm not going to go back to as a player. It kind of starts hitting you a little bit. But it is what it is. It's part of retirement, part of when you hang it up. All you can do is try to have fun and keep on going about our business like we have. The best memory that you can take out of it is is keep it yourself.''

Ortiz will be joined by five other teammates, many of whom will be honored to take part in Ortiz's final appearance.

"It will be really special,'' said Mookie Betts. "I'm sure they'll do something nice for him. For me to be there for his final (appearance), it will definitely be special.''

"You couldn't write it up (any better),'' added Jackie Bradley Jr. "He's having a great season and I'm just glad to be part of.''


Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.