David Ortiz held his own Saturday in a rare appearance in the field, but his body is feeling the aftereffects.
The Boston Red Sox slugger started at first base — for the first time in over a year — Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And while he actually made a couple nice plays in the field, Ortiz wasn’t able to finish the game, exiting in the sixth inning in favor of Aaron Hill, who took over at third base while Travis Shaw shifted to first.
The Red Sox would have liked to get Ortiz an extra at-bat in their eventual shutout loss, but manager John Farrell removed Ortiz after the 40-year-old reported “general stiffness.”
“He started to stiffen up overall,” Farrell said after the game, as aired on NESN’s “Extra Innings LIVE.” “First time he’s been on the field in nearly a year, but as I mentioned before the game, I felt like three or four at-bats (Saturday) was more beneficial for our team than one potential pinch hit late in the game.”
Ortiz apparently didn’t suffer any serious ailment, but given the way he’s hitting in his final major league season, Farrell and the Red Sox aren’t pushing their luck.
“We’ve got to monitor every guy as we go through it, and David’s got a unique situation,” Farrell added. “So, when he said he was starting to stiffen up, we got him off his feet.”
Saturday could mark the last time we see Ortiz start a game at first base. Boston has one interleague series left on its schedule, a three-game set against the San Diego Padres in early September, and seeing that Big Papi didn’t make it through Saturday’s contest, there’s a good chance the Red Sox use him only as a pinch hitter or give him that series off altogether.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Red Sox-Dodgers:
— Eduardo Rodriguez allowed what proved to be the game-winning run on a questionable pitch decision.
The left-hander had a 3-1 count on Dodgers No. 8 hitter A.J. Ellis with runners on first and second in the second inning. But rather than put Ellis on to face L.A.’s pitcher, Ross Stripling, Rodriguez threw a changeup over the plate that Ellis drove into left field for an RBI single.
“There was an idea (of walking Ellis), but I made a bad pitch. It was straight and (down the) middle,” Rodriguez said after the game, as aired on NESN’s “Extra Innings LIVE.”
— The Red Sox’s bullpen did its job once again, as Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross Jr. and Clay Buchholz combined to allow just three hits in 4 2/3 innings of scoreless work. They didn’t issue a walk and struck out six batters during that span.
— It appears Tommy Layne won’t be a part of the Red Sox’s bullpen plans going forward. The team requested unconditional release waivers for Layne on Saturday, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.
— The Red Sox are hovering around the American League’s second wild card spot, and they could lose that Saturday night. They were tied with the Detroit Tigers for the second slot as of the end of their game, but the Tigers can take over if they beat the New York Mets.
— Infield prospect Yoan Moncada, who left Double-A Portland’s game Friday night with an ankle injury, has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 ankle sprain and is expected to miss about a week.
The 21-year-old is batting .285 in Portland with eight homers and 22 RBIs through 34 games.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vazquez/USA TODAY Sports Images