Gone but not for­got­ten

Or­tiz miss­ing from Red Sox ros­ter for first time since 2002

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY J. SCOTT BUTHERUS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

When the Bos­ton Red Sox started to re­port for spring train­ing Mon­day, David Or­tiz was miss­ing.

For the first time since 2002, Big Papi is not on the ros­ter.

“It’s go­ing to be dif­fer­ent,” sec­ond base­man Dustin Pe­droia said. “He’s been here ev­ery year that I’ve been here. We just have to find a way to over­come his ab­sence and it’s go­ing to have to be a team ef­fort to find a way to do that.”

Or­tiz re­tired last Oc­to­ber af­ter help­ing Bos­ton win its first three World Se­ries ti­tles since 1918. He hit 541 home runs in 20 ma­jor league sea­sons and de­cided he didn’t want to put him­self through another sea­son at age 41.

Han­ley Ramirez took over Or­tiz’s locker, the one closes to the exit to the play­ers’ lounge and cafe­te­ria. He also is ex­pected to also take over the ma­jor­ity of Or­tiz’s du­ties as des­ig­nated hit­ter, with Mitch More­land also get­ting some at­bats.

“No­body is go­ing to re­place Or­tiz,” More­land said.

Or­tiz led the AL with a .620 slug­ging per­cent­age last year and hit .315 with 87 ex­tra-base hits and 127 RBIs. More­land, who signed a $5.5 mil­lion, oneyear deal with Bos­ton af­ter spend­ing the past seven sea­sons with Texas, had 43 ex­tra­base hits and 60 RBIs last year. Ramirez, in one of his best power sea­sons since 2008, had 59 ex­tra base hits and 111 RBIs.

“No mat­ter who was avail­able to us, we were never go­ing to be able to re­place David,” Red Sox man­ager John Far­rell said. “What he has meant to us with his pro­duc­tion, I don’t know that you can just pen­cil in 30 and 100 as fre­quently as we did with David.”

Out­fielder Mookie Betts will miss an­a­lyz­ing op­pos­ing pitch­ers with Or­tiz dur­ing games.

“I’m sure it’ll be weird. I’ve never played with­out him,” Betts said. “He had ex­pe­ri­ence that none of us young guys had. The laugh­ing, the jok­ing and what­not, and that lead­er­ship. We’ve got some guys that can do that but no­body is David Or­tiz.”

Much of the veteran lead­er­ship could fall on Pe­droia. When asked about as­sum­ing Or­tiz’s role as the “el­der states­man” in the club­house, the 33-year-old shrugged it off.

“Ob­vi­ously I’m go­ing to miss him. We are all go­ing to miss him,” Pe­droia said. “I’m sure if I need some ad­vice, I still have his num­ber. He’s not go­ing any­where. He’ll al­ways be on our side and will be a big part of what we do.”

AP PHOTO

Bos­ton Red Sox’s Dustin Pe­droia, right, and Brock Holt walk out of the club­house to the field dur­ing base­ball spring train­ing in Fort My­ers, Fla., Mon­day.

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