Papi pumped up about Price, Red Sox's chances
Slugger, who'll retire after 2016, insists he's moved on from incident with lefty/new teammate
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- More than anything, David Ortiz wants to win a fourth World Series ring in his final Major League season. And that's why the Red Sox slugger is fired up about the aggressive offseason by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski that has landed Boston two elite pitchers -- David Price and Craig Kimbrel.
"Great, great," said Ortiz at Thursday night's opening banquet for his charity event in the Dominican Republic. "I think we definitely need some pitching. I think that having Price on our side now and Kimbrel is great. We needed pitching. The American League is pretty much based on pitching now more than anything else.
"We need some power pitching. The organization knows it. Dave knows it. We talk about it. Now, having two very talented players, it's going to help us out a lot."
Ortiz both reiterated and elaborated on comments he made earlier in the week to a Dominican Republic radio station saying his past feud with Price is now officially that -- the past.
"Everything is fine, man. Everything is fine," Ortiz said. "Everybody's got their moment on the field, but now we're teammates. You've got to turn the page. I'm going to help him the most. He's going to help me the most to win ballgames, and that's all that matters."
Did the Red Sox contact Ortiz before striking a deal with Price?
"Yeah, at some point the Red Sox asked me about it, and I told them I got no problem with it," Ortiz said. "All that matters to me is winning, and I know that him being on our side, we're going to win ballgames. I have no problem with that."
In the coming days, Ortiz and Price will probably exchange texts or a phone call. This week, Ortiz has been busy prepping for his charity event, and Price first finalized his contract and then flew to Boston for a physical.
There have been no words spoken between the two men since the night of May 30, 2014, when Price plunked Ortiz in the back, sparking a verbal spat between two veteran All-Stars.
"Since that incident happened, we pretty much kind of shut it down," Ortiz said. "He's not a bad guy. I know him from before. Things happen in the game, but that doesn't mean that's how you are. Our adrenaline kicks in on the field. We all have the purpose of what we want to do on the field. You make up your mind from there, but that doesn't dictate what kind of person you are.
"If you go around the league, you hear a lot of people saying good things about him. I know we have our moments. Like I say, it's time to turn the page. We're teammates now. We've got to be on the same page if we want to win ballgames, definitely."
While Ortiz has continued to put up big numbers, the back-to-back last-place finishes have been tough for him to endure. He's confident the Red Sox will be right back in the mix in 2016.
"We're going to have the younger guys having more experience for next year," Ortiz said. "Already, we have an ace and another closer. And power pitching is what matters the most. I told them that power pitching is the name of the game right now and they've got to do something and there you go."
Larry Lucchino, the president/CEO emeritus for the Red Sox who is the Dominican to support Ortiz this weekend, elaborated on the team's decision to be more aggressive for impact pitching this winter than a year ago.
"I think that when facts change, when circumstances change, then one tends to change," Lucchino said. "The tendency may be to change your policy or philosophy. You can have one point of view that fits you think until you get evidence that it may not be quite right, then you hope you have the flexibility enough to adjust."
The one thing that surprised Lucchino is how quickly Dombrowski was able to acquire his targets.
"I was surprised at the alacrity with which it came. I knew that there was a plan to deal with one our holes with prospects and another of our holes with dollars," Lucchino said.