BOSTON -- David Ortiz may have already played his last game at Fenway Park against the New York Yankees, getting a day off Sunday.
The decision is a bit of a head scratcher after John Farrell had expressed the Ortiz was expected to start every game down the stretch. But after his activity in Friday’s win -- when he went 2-for-3 with a double and a homer -- the Sox manager spoke to Big Papi.
“Talked with David after Friday night’s game,” Farrell explained, “in larger part because of the number of times he was on base and to the extent at which he ran, with a quick turnaround on Saturday.
“We talked about the upcoming two days -- yesterday and today -- and with a late-night arrival, likely four right-handed starters in Baltimore, felt like this was the day to give him now.”
Ortiz’s durability has been something Boston’s juggled all season. And the DH hasn’t exactly made it easy on his skipper, legging out his MLB-best 47 doubles despite his advanced age and lackluster wheels.
“Before the All-Star break you look up and he was already in like the low 30’s and at that point it’s a little bit of a head-scratcher to see that number of doubles hit in what would be his last year,” Farrell said “That’s a crazy amount if you ask me…He’s got a chance to have 50-plus doubles, 35-plus home runs -- that’s a career for a lot of guys.”
“When he’s tagging up or stealing a base on that rare occasion, those are the days you kind of want to throw the lasso around him and hold him down. [But] he’s not going to push things beyond where he doesn’t feel comfortable.”
Farrell was also asked prior to Sunday’s game if their three-game cushion in the standings was a factor in the decision.
“I wouldn’t say the standings had any influence on this. We talked about this a couple of days ago and we’re trying to do what’s right and do what’s best for David.”
Maybe he’ll pinch-hit, maybe the two teams will play again in the postseason. It’s more than likely though that Fenway Park will never see David Ortiz face a Yankee pitcher again.