Red Sox

Ortiz's daughter makes him a proud Papi on Opening Day

Ortiz's daughter makes him a proud Papi on Opening Day

BOSTON - When it comes to ceremonies the Red Sox are usually good for a handful of groans and at least a few eye rolls.

They tend to go over the top.

So there were a lot of skeptics going into Fenway Park's home opener that doubled as David Ortiz's last as a member of the Red Sox.

But you have to hand it to the Sox this time around: they did something pretty cool and genuinely surprising when Alex Ortiz, David Ortiz's 15-year-old daughter, was announced as the singer of the National Anthem.

Ortiz, who was standing along the first base line with the rest of his team, felt something he doesn't feel on the baseball field much if at all: nerves.

The cameras caught Ortiz's immediate reaction when his daughter's name was announced, and if you're a good lip reader, you can figure out what he said.

The ending of Monday's game wasn't anything Ortiz will want to remember. He grounded into a double play with two on and two out. But the beginning of that game? That will stick with him forever.

"It was really a surprise. It caught me off guard," Ortiz said, pausing between his words. "My daughter, she's always singing . . . I was nervous. I was nervous. I was dying. She was very good."

It looked as if Ortiz was fighting back some tears at points during the anthem, and once it ended he went over to his daughter and hugged her.

"It was a surprise. A beautiful surprise," Ortiz said. "And at some point you start thinking about your kids, the way you raise your kids and everything that you have been through. I got caught into this memory, and it was beautiful. Thinking about all that, I pretty much got to the end of the zone and I kind of got back and I felt a little safe."

People say that Ortiz is the greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history. There are plenty of stats to back that up. The three-time World Series champion has come through on countless occasions for Boston, not letting a big moment get the best of him.

But on Monday, Ortiz the baseball player became Ortiz the father, and experienced perhaps one of his most proud moments on the field over his 20-year career.

"I'm not going to lie to you, I was more nervous during that time than including any at-bat that I ever had in my career, and it wasn't even about me. It was about her," Ortiz said. "Whoever has kids knows how that goes. When you are watching your kid performing anything. That was like my first big moment watching one of my child doing something pretty big. Now I understand my dad, my family, my mom when she used to watch me, I know they all used to be very nervous and stuff and now I get it. But it was unbelievable."

Ortiz finished the day 2-for-5 with a double and RBI. He's reached base in every one of his first home games as a member of the Red Sox, batting .340 in those 14 games.

Ortiz couldn't make his last Opening Day a storybook ending, but the Sox as a team didn't roll over at any point in the game, coming back from two deficits and giving themselves a chance to win in the 9th inning before Ortiz grounded into the double-play and Hanley Ramirez struck out with a runner on third base.

"That's how it is around here," Ortiz said. "We don't give up until the game is over. We know how to bounce back, we know how to come from behind, and hopefully that's the case this year . . . I told you guys in spring training that we were going to hit. I told you guys straight up I liked what I saw and I never doubted that we were going to have a good offense. And that's what's happening here now."

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.