The latest David Ortiz controversy is a non-controversy, according to one of his bosses.
Ortiz missed the Boston Red Sox’s final game before the All-Star break with what manager John Farrell described as an upper-respiratory issue. Not only did Ortiz not play in the team’s July 12 game, he was sent home before the game even began.
Ortiz’s absence quickly was questioned by some fans and plenty of talking heads. The designated hitter had recently given an emphatic “no” when asked if he was willing to play first base over the long term, and some hypothesized Ortiz might have actually refused to play first base in that final game before the break, and the illness was the team’s cover.
To that notion, Sox president Larry Lucchino would say it’s nonsense — or “ridiculous,” perhaps.
“I think it’s tempest in a teapot,” Lucchino said Monday morning on WEEI. “I think it’s ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz‘s integrity and commitment to this team. He’s not only earned that respect over the years, he’s also a team leader. I think it’s ludicrous for the sports media to jump to those negative conclusions.”
Lucchino made sure to point out that Ortiz wasn’t against playing first here and there, rather his objections were in regards to playing the field on a much more regular basis.
“He said he didn’t want to play first with great regularity,” Lucchino added. “He didn’t say not that he didn’t want to, not that he didn’t think his body would hold up if that were required — he did go out there for a couple of games at first base when we needed him.”
Ortiz has played first base two times since July 5, allowing the Red Sox to get their best lineup — offensively and defensively — on the field.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images