That’s why David Ortiz may take it easy. During Monday’s news conference to announce his two-year deal, the Red Sox’ designated hitter admitted that he’s contemplating sitting out the showcase in March.
“I talked to Ben [Cherington] and the owners and that might be an interruption between the things they’re planning me to do next season, and be aware of being ready to go for the season next year,” Ortiz said. “We’ll see how things go. It seems like they don’t really want me to be out there for the pregame season, whatever that is.”
Ortiz was an anchor for the Dominican Republic’s lineup in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic. Coming off an Achilles injury –– and considering he’ll turn 37 later this month –– the slugger may not want to risk his health in the competition.
He watched the impact playing had on teammate Daisuke Matsuzaka back in 2009. Despite winning the tournament’s MVP award for Japan, Matsuzaka experienced weakness in his throwing arm down the stretch for the Red Sox.
Given the gamble, Cherington intends to reach out to other members of his roster and discuss the situation.
“The only player I’ve talked to at all about that is David, and as he said, I’m sure it’s something we’ll talk more about,” Cherington said. “We want to try to protect the team and protect him as best we can. I haven’t talked to any other player about it. I’m sure we will sometime this offseason.”
At lease one other player has shown an interest in participating in the World Baseball Classic. During the season, pitcher Alfredo Aceves told NESN.com that he expected to play for Mexico in the event.
For now, it’ll likely hinge on his future with the team and discussions with Cherington.