Big Papi likes what he sees from '17 Red Sox

Slugger says his former club has talent, good leadership

July 30th, 2017

BOSTON -- Retired slugger David Ortiz is still connected enough to the inner workings of the Red Sox to feel strongly that the team's leadership is fine without him.

Big Papi, who was on hand for the 10-year reunion of the 2007 World Series championship team on Sunday, also showed compassion for , who has been at the center of controversy over a confrontation with NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley that happened on a team flight a month ago.

"To be honest with you, that ballclub has good leadership," Ortiz said. "I don't care what anybody says. It's different to give an opinion being on the outside than being in the inside. When you have guys like [], [Chris Sale], David Price -- those guys running the clubhouse, [], [] -- even the younger guys, they put a lot of effort into trying to do good every day.

"So leadership is not the problem in the clubhouse at all, I can testify to you guys about that. Incidents happen. Sometimes as a player, we handle the business through emotions, which is something [where] we get caught on that."

Of Price, Ortiz said, "I love David. David's a great teammate, a great competitor. Probably frustration came out at the wrong time and it was mishandled. I heard he talked to [the media] yesterday. I hope everybody just moves on."

Price said on Saturday that he will soon meet with Eckersley in hopes of clearing the air, and Ortiz thinks that would be best for everyone involved.

"At some point, you've got to recognize that whenever you do something wrong, you come out and do what you got to do, and keep the line moving," Ortiz said. "It's a long season and you don't want things to be misunderstood, you know what I'm saying. Like I say, we go through a lot of emotions in the season and sometimes we let the emotions take over a situation, and sometimes at the end of the day, it's not what you are really trying to do.

"I just hope that everybody lets the team play and forget about what happened in the past. At the end of the day, David's a great guy. Eckersley's doing his job on the other hand."

Of the 2017 Red Sox, who entered Sunday's game against the Royals a half-game behind the Yankees in the American League East, Ortiz sees good things.

"They're good," Ortiz said. "I mean, we always talk about August being the dog days, you know what I'm saying. Seems like the Red Sox have been through the dog days already. Saw this one stretch in July where they played 50 innings or something innings in four days, that's not an easy thing to do, you know what I'm saying? That will catch up with you at some point.

"They're doing good, man, they have to just try to keep themselves where they are at and leave behind all the [distractions] and just try to keep continuing winning because that's all that matters in the end."

Ortiz, speaking on the eve of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, agreed the Red Sox could use another bat.

"A thunder [bat] is always good," Ortiz said. "It's always a plus. If they can add another power hitter to the lineup, I'd take it in a heartbeat. Who you got?"

It was then jokingly suggested to Ortiz that perhaps he could be that thunder bat.

"Not me, man. Not me. I've been doing nothing but soul cycle, bro," Ortiz said. "Hey, I sit down and watch the game right now, and I'm like, 'Man, that's hard.' Seriously. I sit down and watch the game, I view the game differently now. I see everybody throwing 100 now, changing speeds -- I've been saying that for a while. But now that you're not playing, you're not competing, you're not getting prepared for it, it's like, 'Man.' Got to give the guys credit out there. Look at the guys like Sale making everyone look like junk. That's fun to watch, man. I'm so happy I don't have to deal with that."