BOSTON — Red Sox manager John Farrell has David Ortiz’s back.
Ortiz responded with displeasure Monday to claims he was given a “free pass” following a report several years ago that identified him as someone who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during Major League Baseball’s 2003 survey testing. The slugger told WEEI.com he wasn’t given a “free pass,” and his skipper rushed to his defense before Tuesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
“The 2003 test I think that’s being referred to, I don’t know how many times David has been tested since then. Whatever that number is, I’m sure it’s a very high one,” Farrell said. “He’s tested clean every single time. It’s unfortunate that the innuendo continues to follow him. He’s a heck of a player, one hell of a hitter and there’s no reason other than hard work and talent that’s produced that.”
Ortiz told WEEI.com on Monday that he was watching an MLB Network segment about a controversy that took place over the weekend involving Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, Baltimore Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz and O’s manager Buck Showalter when one of the show’s hosts referred to him as receiving a “free pass.” The comment didn’t sit well with Big Papi, a nine-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion. And for good reason.
Clearly, the claims didn’t sit well with Farrell, either.