Boston, MA (ESPNBoston.com) – Fresh off his new deal with the Red Sox, slugger David Ortiz fired back at former manager Bobby Valentine, who two weeks ago insinuated his designated hitter missed the latter part of the season not because of soreness from an Achilles injury but because his team was out of the playoff hunt.
“Stopping me (from playing) was the decision of the doctors, management, the manager and me,” Ortiz told ESPNDeportes.com. “The team doctor recommended that I stop playing to not make the situation worse for the tendon.
“… As a player, the game runs through my veins. In the 10 years I have played in Boston, I have been the heart and soul of the organization and not a second has gone by in which David Ortiz, able to go on the field to do what he knows best, he stayed seated instead.”
Ortiz was on the disabled list from July 18 to late August with a strained right Achilles. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a one-game return Aug. 24. The next day, the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgerswas made official. Ortiz went back on the DL on Aug. 27.
“He realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore,” Valentine said Oct. 23 in an interview on “Costas Tonight” on NBC Sports Network. “I think at that time it was all downhill from there.”
The soon-to-be 37-year-old Ortiz emphatically denied that deal had anything to do with him missing the rest of the season and said he ignored a message from Valentine after the interview because he thought he was dealing with someone with “some mental issues.”
“No. 1, never bite the hand that feeds you, because in the end that will come back to bite you,” Ortiz said. “I was one of those players that always showed support for him. In fact, I held a couple of player meetings.
“No. 2, the day that I returned from the DL, I told him that I was not sure what percentage health-wise I was in, but that I could not be out there without trying to help. When I told him that, I put my career on the side to help him and the team. Being in an incredible amount of pain, I went out there to support them.
“No. 3, after he went on national TV to say what he said, he sent me a text message trying to tell me that it was the media trying to change things. I did not respond to the message and I said to myself, this guy must have some mental issues or needs medicine or something? I said, I am dealing with someone crazy and I am not going to drive myself crazy, so it is better if I leave it alone.”
Ortiz said he is only speaking up about it now because he was focused on finalizing a two-year contract with the Red Sox.
“I am a player that has the game in his blood,” he said. “In the 10 years that I have (been) in Boston, I have been the soul of the organization and there has never been a second where David Ortiz being able to go on the field and do what he does has decided to stay seated.”
On Monday, the Red Sox officially announced Ortiz’s return to the team. The veteran designated hitter will get a two-year deal worth at least $26 million, a source told ESPNBoston.com.
Ortiz, who made $14.575 million last season on a one-year deal, will make $14 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014, and will get a $1 million signing bonus with performance incentives that could bring the total value to $30 million, according to a team source.
Regarding his new contract, Ortiz said that it is the best thing that could have happened to him at this stage in his career. It practically guarantees that he will not wear a uniform other than that of the Red Sox for the rest of his life.
“I feel happy and, on top of that, my mind is at ease because I won’t have to move in the next two years. Over the coming two years, I will conclude a 17-year career; not many can accomplish that in this league,” said Ortiz, who has had a .285 batting average with 401 home runs and 1,326 RBIs in 16 years with Minnesota and Boston.
Information from ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas and ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes was used in this report.