While the Red Sox began the 2011 campaign getting swept by the Texas Rangers, Ortiz has gotten off to a strong start.
He has a .333 batting average (4-for-12), two home runs and four RBIs. He his his first home of the season in his fourth at-bat on Opening Day. Last year, Ortiz needed 12 games and 42 at-bats to notch his first round-tripper, and in the opening series fo 2010, he had just a .091 batting average, no home runs and only one RBI.
Making things even more impressive is that Ortiz’ success has come against left-handers. While he struggled initially against C.J. Wilson, Ortiz took Rangers lefty reliever Darren Oliver deep on Friday before picking up two base knocks against fellow lefty Matt Harrison, who kept the Red Sox in check all afternoon on Sunday.
Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan praised the slugger’s early success.
“He looks like he did at the end of last season, which is much better than he did last April,” Magadan told AOL Sporting News.
Last season, Big Papi finished the season in impressive form despite his slow start. In April of 2010, he had a .143 batting average with one home run and four RBIs. From there, he finished the remainder of the season with a .286 batting average, 31 home runs and 98 RBIs.
The 35-year-old designated hitter has done all he can to avoid a slow start this year. He already has eclipsed last April’s home run total and would have added a third if a deep blast had not been kept in the yard by strong winds Sunday.
While the Red Sox didn’t have a lot to celebrate in Texas, seeing Ortiz make solid contact and hit for power is a very good sign.
“I’ll just keep my mouth shut and keep on working,” Ortiz said after the opening series, according to AOL Sporting News. “This is not an easy game to play. Pitchers make pitches and hitters take their swings. You have your approach and you have to come to the game ready to do some damage.”