Werner hopes Papi makes Spring Training appearance

Ortiz, ownership in process of defining slugger's future role with Red Sox

February 17th, 2017

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While the Red Sox continue to iron out the details on 's future role, chairman Tom Werner expressed hope that the retired slugger will appear at some point during Spring Training to speak to the team.
Considering the large shadow that Big Papi casts, it isn't a surprise that he hasn't been around during the early stages of camp. The 2017 Red Sox need to establish an identity without their long-time DH.
"That remains to be defined," Werner said of Ortiz's role. "But I know David expects to have a role going forward, and I think he feels that it's probably good to have Spring Training start and not be a presence, but I would hope that at some point he would come here and address the team about leadership. And we are talking to him frequently ... we expect he'll have a role, which he will principally define, but it will be important."
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And reiterating what said on Thursday, Red Sox ownership in no way expects Ortiz will reverse course on his retirement, despite a couple of cryptic posts from Number 34 on social media over the winter.
"[Ortiz] said he's retired. All of you know that he played last year in quite a bit of pain," said Werner.
"Actually, I don't think they know quite how much pain he was in last year. Maybe, maybe, but I don't think so," said Red Sox owner John Henry. "And not just last year."
Here are some other items of interest during Henry and Werner's roughly 20-minute briefing with the media that took place prior to Friday's first full-squad workout.
On Fenway Park: "I'm not sure that we feel the need to do too much more," said Henry. "I think it's a tremendous experience to be there. There's been 15 years of tender loving care on an annual basis, and it's going to be built to last, built to last for the next 30 years, at least 30 years if not 50 years. So I think you'll see more changes outside of the ballpark. Substantive big changes like you're talking about will be more outside the ballpark than inside."
On : "Well, we saw him this morning," said Werner. "I think that he has a lot he wants to prove. I heard he talked to the media yesterday and was very articulate. He's an All-Star player, so we have a lot of confidence he's going to have a good year."
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On president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski: "I think he's done a tremendous job," Werner said. "I think all of us in the organization think he's done a tremendous job. Very hands on. You can see he's there in the clubhouse. He has an exceptional relationship with the players.
"I think, just to be specific for one player, I think he had a special relationship with Hanley Ramirez a year ago at this time. I think that [manager] John Farrell and Dave Dombrowski can be credited for some of what Hanley did. John [Henry has] known him for decades, and he's just a strong, solid, great general manager and president."
On Farrell: "He's an outstanding leader. There's a lot of facets to being a great manager, and I think he ticks all the boxes," said Werner. "Not only that, I think we all know that he overcame personal health issues last year. He's the right guy there to be our leader this year and for the future."
On saying he had a down year: "He only won 17 games," quipped Henry.
"He only won 17 games, pitched 230 innings," interjected Werner. "I just thought when we signed him, we were excited about his leadership on and off the field. I think the way he handled some of the bumps last year was impressive, and I know he's hungry to do even better this year."