But does the Red Sox slugger plan to call it a career after the 2014 season? Well, Ortiz isn’t pondering the possibility just yet, insisting his primary goal is to lead the Red Sox on and off the diamond.
“I know I’m a force in this organization and this ballclub and Ben [Cherington] talked to me through the season and me and a couple of my teammates, he let us know he wants to build this organization around us,” Ortiz said. “That’s something I told Ben straight up – I’m up to the challenge.
“This is an organization that I try to represent it the best I can and it’s very painful to see what we went through this season and you know, they’re doing the job to put a good thing together for next year and they’re doing the job and we’ll be sure we have a better season — just like everybody expects.”
His offseason is already off to a strong start. Aside from inking a multiyear deal, the 36-year-old said his ailing Achilles — which caused him to miss the last two months of the season — had improved greatly.
Ortiz has managed to start completing leg exercises. Regardless of his circumstances, he plans to continue rehabbing over the offseason in order to anchor Boston’s lineup at full strength next season.
“There’s one thing I’m going to make clear right here –– I get prepared to play,” Ortiz said. “I like to see the pain in the opposition. I like to win. I’m the kind of guy that, the season is never over for me. I’m still working, still putting myself together right now, when everybody’s vacationing.”
He credited his offseason regimen last offseason for his tremendous start to his 2012 campaign. After shedding roughly 20 pounds, the slugger tortured opposing pitchers, belting 23 home runs and 60 RBIs through 90 games.
“Trust me, I was feeling unbelievably well, which is a feeling I haven’t had since I was in my 20s, you’ve got to go back to that,” Ortiz said. “It’s like they say, game recognize game, and the best thing that happened to me is getting to know my body better than usual.”