‘Tired’ Or­tiz still has wide-awake bat

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL -

In what’s be­come a reg­u­lar scene, David Or­tiz stepped into the dugout, pre­par­ing for bat­ting prac­tice, when a team staff mem­ber asked if he was ready.

Not far away, a group of fans waited to be brought in, ea­ger to chat briefly with Or­tiz, take a photo and wish him well.

In Big Papi’s fi­nal sea­son, ev­ery­one who comes to Fen­way Park wants their chance to say good­bye — and it’s tak­ing a toll on the Red Sox’s larger-than-life des­ig­nated hit­ter.

“(I’m) very busy (and) kind of tired of it, a lit­tle worn out,” Or­tiz told the As­so­ci­ated Press be­fore the Roy­als beat the Red Sox 10-4 on Sun­day night.

Near­ing the last month of his 20th reg­u­lar sea­son, Or­tiz at times wishes he hadn’t an­nounced this would be his fi­nal year. The base­ball sea­son is long and hard enough, and this good­bye grind is more than he an­tic­i­pated.

“My job is kind of tir­ing,” he said. “I have to get lined up to (do) dif­fer­ent things — adding more to it is a lot. I’m re­ally busy and not get­ting to en­joy things.”

Of course, no one would know that by the way he’s hit­ting. The 40-year-old Or­tiz hit his 534th homer Sun­day, a solo shot that tied him with Jim­mie Foxx for 18th on the ca­reer list.

He’s bat­ting .319 and leads the Red Sox with 31 homers and 101 RBIs, reach­ing 30/100 for a club-record 10th time. Hall of Famer Ted Wil­liams is next on the list with seven.

Or­tiz’s sea­son has been so good, many around the ma­jors have said the slug­ger should come back for a 21st year.

At last month’s All-Star Game in San Diego, An­gels star Mike Trout said, “I don’t think Big Papi is go­ing to re­tire. I keep telling him that. With those num­bers, I wouldn’t.”

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