08/28 19:41 CDT "Worn out" Ortiz still producing in last year with Red Sox
"Worn out" Ortiz still producing in last year with Red Sox
By KEN POWTAK
BOSTON (AP) --- In what's become a regular scene, David Ortiz stepped into the
dugout, preparing for batting practice, when a team staff member asked if he
Not far away, a group of fans waited to be brought in, eager to chat briefly
with the 40-year-old Ortiz, take a photo and wish him well.
In Big Papi's final season, everyone who comes to Fenway Park wants their
chance to say goodbye --- and it's taking a toll on Boston's larger-than-life
"Very busy. Kind of tired of it, a little worn out," the Red Sox star told The
Associated Press before a nationally televised game against the Kansas City
Royals on Sunday night.
Nearing the last month of his 20th regular season, Ortiz at times wishes he
didn't pronounce this his final year. The baseball season is long and hard
enough, and this goodbye grind is more than he anticipated.
"My job is kind of tiring," he said. "Adding more things to it is a lot. ...
I'm really busy and not getting to enjoy things."
Of course, no one would know that by the way he's hitting.
Entering Sunday, Ortiz is batting .319 and leading the Red Sox with 30 homers
and 100 RBIs. He's reached 30/100 for a club-record 10th time --- Hall of Famer
Ted Williams is next on the list with seven.
His season has been so good, many around the majors have said the slugger
should come back for a 21st year.
At last month's All-Star Game in San Diego, Angels star Mike Trout said, "I
don't think Big Papi is going to retire. I keep telling him that. With those
numbers, I wouldn't."
This month, during an on-field ceremony honoring Ortiz in Detroit, Tigers star
Miguel Cabrera, speaking in Spanish, pleaded with Ortiz to play another season.
Ortiz laughs at those comments.
"That's great, man," he said. "I have a great relationship with them. Being
older, I've kind of been like a mentor to them. I know they really appreciate
everything, all the talk and all the stuff that we ask a veteran to do with
"I guess when you have somebody that is good with you --- that does good things
with you --- you definitely want to have them around."
Ortiz doesn't save mentorship for teammates. He often chats with opponents on
the field during batting practice and takes pride in others cherishing his
"I always talk to them. We have that relationship through the years," he said.
"It's because those guys always come to us for advice. Whenever someone can
give you advice, you turn to them as your mentor, somehow, some way."
So maybe it's no surprise how Big Papi wants to be remembered as a player.
"Just a friendly person," he said. "Terribly friendly with everyone."
Ortiz shows up for work hours before each game, getting the treatment he needs
to prepare his aching feet and legs. The club has monitored his playing time,
giving him planned rest and taking him out in lopsided games.
"I have to get lined up to different things and I try to be here very early so
I'm not in anybody's way," he said. "Everybody has to do things and get ready.
It's not just David Ortiz."
But still much of it falls on Ortiz's shoulders.
On Sunday, before he stepped onto the field for batting practice, a woman
stopped him to ask a question:
"What are you going to do after you retire?"
"Take a long vacation," Big Papi replied.
He then posed for a photo with the mom, dad and two children before going out
to take his swings.
When he returned, another group of fans waited eagerly for their personal