David Ortiz Says He’s Ahead of Schedule, Suggests that Boston’s Lineup “Needs Some Thunder”

December 3, 2012 – 6:30 am by Brad Gagnon

It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox have their work cut out for them this offseason and beyond. The Sox weren’t able to keep up in the AL East in 2012 and the lineup needs some retooling. David Ortiz is back after signing a two-year, $26 million deal in early November, but even he’ll admit that this team needs a boost.

David Ortiz joined Kirk, Rob and Ian on WEEI in Boston to discuss his rehab from a right Achilles injury, the state of the lineup, free agency, new manager John Farrell, former manager Bobby Valentine, his decision to re-sign with Boston and his desire to see Cody Ross return to the Sox.

On how his rehab is going:

“I’m feeling really good. I had some of the team doctors right here. They just left, they just went back to Boston,  but they were down here evaluating me and checking me out. Yesterday I started doing some agility drills; it went good. Today I was fine. Tomorrow I’m going to continue doing it. … If everything goes good, I’m going to start doing my running. … They found that I was pretty much ahead of the plan. I’m not fully recovered. They say now, with the new things that I’ll be doing, I’ll probably get sore a little bit. … I haven’t been doing any running for the past three, four months, but they say that I’m looking pretty good.”

On the team needing “some thunder” in the lineup:

“I’ve been a little disconnected, but it’s not a surprise for anyone who follows the Red Sox that we need some thunder in that lineup. The problem is that there isn’t too many out there; that’s one thing. I’m pretty sure everybody needs to be a little patient. We have the winter meetings coming up and a lot of decisions get made right after the winter meetings, so hopefully they come out with some decisions. … We need some power. You guys saw how the team went down in power right after I was injured. Our pitching needs some adjustments in some spots.”

On if the Red Sox have a new challenge trying to draw free agents:

“With the situation we’ve been facing the last couple of years, probably. When it comes down to free agency … you have an idea of the things that you’re looking for. It’s tough to play here, but at the same time they’re not expecting you to be like Babe Ruth or Ted Williams. If you come through like that, great. But if you come and play in Boston and you stay on top of your game, try to make a difference every day, and come with the attitude to play hard, the fans will appreciate that.”

On new manager John Farrell:

“He was here when things were going really well, so I don’t think he’s too far away from knowing what we need to do to get things better around here. So he’s got an inside track when it comes down to that. And that’s something that Bobby wasn’t familiar with. … There’s a lot of things that John can accomplish as a manager. … And another thing that I saw was guys that used to be a big part of the organization … they’re going to be back in. Like Pedro, those guys, are going to be around doing things. It’s a lot of good things happening. And I think that in the long run we’re going to be in better shape.”

On if he’s been in touch with Bobby Valentine since Valentine suggested publicly that Ortiz gave up on the 2012 season:

“Not really. … I don’t like to waste my time. I try to invest my time in things that, in the long run, is going to be some benefit. … And once I saw him coming out with those comments I was hurting, because you don’t do people like that.”

On if he thought there was a chance he might leave Boston before re-signing with the team:

“Not really. I think the team approached me different this year than years before and they want me to be around. They know how important my presence is in the lineup — not only the lineup, but this organization in general. And they make it clear how things are going to be. So I pretty much let my agent do the whole talking with them.”

On free agent Cody Ross:

“I think Cody should have an opportunity to come back. He played in the toughest time we were going through and he handled himself pretty good. He did a great job. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great, great teammate, and he’s a guy who cares. Me, as a player, that’s what matters to me, when you have guys who are about winning, who care about coming in every day and trying to make a difference. That’s the type of player I like to have around and that’s the type of player this organization needs. Cody did all of that throughout the year.”

Listen to David Ortiz on WEEI here

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