David Ortiz To Play In Opener

David Ortiz To Play In Opener

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is in the Opening Day lineup after sitting out the team’s final two exhibition games due to stiffness in his right calf.

The move to sit Ortiz was more precautionary and a good opportunity to provide the long-time veteran with some extra rest. The Red Sox will have just three days off during the month of April.

The 38-year old slugger is no stranger to lower leg issues and even the slightest hint of a problem is enough to have Red Sox fans fearing for the worst.

In 2012, Ortiz injured his right Achilles tendon in mid-July and missed the remainder of the season. Up until that point, Ortiz was having an All-Star caliber year batting .318 with 23 home runs, and 60 RBI in 324 at-bats over 90 games.

In 2013, Ortiz missed all of Spring Training and made his season debut on April 20th following his now famous pre-game “This is our [expletive] city” speech. Ortiz went on to hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI during the regular-season and was vintage David Ortiz leading the Red Sox to their third World Series championship of the last ten years.

Over the course of Spring Training, Ortiz batted .054 with one home run, two RBI and 13 strikeouts over 37 at-bats.

Terrible spring numbers, while sometimes alarming, are not a reliable tool in forecasting the outlook of a veteran major leaguer. Over the last eight spring training’s, Ortiz batted above .250 just once batting .333, over 24 at-bats, in the spring of 2006.

David Ortiz will have his fair share of health scares throughout the remainder of his big league career. Few players are able to remain as productive as he has been at such an advanced age. Every missed at-bat, every day off and every jog down the first base line will be dissected and discussed a million times over. Something every player on the wrong side of 35 can expect every day they continue to put on a uniform.

David Ortiz is the team’s longest-tenured member and a vital part of the team’s plans for a successful 2014 season. Injuries will always be part of the game and the Red Sox cannot afford to lose David Ortiz for any extended length of time.

The Red Sox feature one of the deeper rosters in Major League baseball, but nobody is capable of replacing David Ortiz.

Thoughts From The Halfway Point Of Spring Training 2014

spring training 2014Ladies and gentleman, the Boston Red Sox have less than 20 games left on their ‘spring training 2014’ schedule. With the start of the regular season right around the corner, here are my thoughts from the halfway point of spring training.

The Resurrection of Grady Sizemore

We have no idea if Sizemore’s body can withstand the grind of the everyday season, but it’s just great to see him back on the field. Sizemore is hitting over .300 this spring and has a lot of the same speed he did prior to his injuries. Depending on how he finishes the spring, Sizemore could end up on the Red Sox roster come Opening Day.

Who’s the Odd Man in the Outfield?

Boston can’t keep six outfielders to start the season. You would imagine that the team would keep Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes because they like to play them both depending on pitching match ups. Obviously the Red Sox are not going to get rid of their gold-glove outfield, Shane Victornio. So that leaves Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr. or Mike Carp as the odd man out. Carp has been a subject of trade rumors this spring, but I don’t know if the Sox want to lose his ability to play multiple positions.

Felix Doubront Looking to Have a Breakout Season

The 26-year-old Doubront came to spring training in the best shape of his career. The left-hander worked this winter with Red Sox pitching Coach Juan Nieves to improve his delivery and command. The Red Sox will depend more on Doubront this season since he will be the third or fourth starter in the rotation.

The Bullpen Could Be Even Scarier in 2014 

With Andrew Miller healthy and the addition of Edward Mujica, the Red Sox bullpen is even deeper than it was last season. So far in camp, closer Koji Uehara looks like the same dominant pitcher he was last season. If he and Junichi Tazawa pitch similar to the way they did in 2013, then the Red Sox’s bullpen will be tough to beat in the later innings.

 A.J. Pierzynski Has Fit in Well

Sorry to disappoint you Pierzynski haters, but he hasn’t been a problem throughout camp. The 37-year-old catcher has quietly blended in well with his teammates. Pierzynski’s power and good defense should come in handy at Fenway Park this season.

Xander Bogaerts Has Yet to Show His Potential

Bogaerts has hit just .167 in the spring thus far, but he has the potential to be one of the best shortstops in baseball. The second ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, has the power to hit 25-to-30 home runs a season and could become a .300 hitter. Bogaerts’ defense may not be his strength, but he certainly isn’t a liability at shortstop.