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TON -- At least from a team standpoint, David Ortiz's 10th season in Boston has been by far his most disappointing. But that hasn't diminished Ortiz's desire to remain with the Red Sox.
Instead, it has only made him more determined to be part of the turnaround going forward.
"Of course," Ortiz said, when asked if he wanted to be back with the Sox next season and beyond.
Though he is again eligible for free agency once the 2012 season ends, Ortiz sounds even more confident than in years past that he will return.
Ortiz played just one game after July 20 because of a right Achilles strain. Combine that with the fact that the Red Sox were hopelessly out of contention for the first time during his decade in Boston, and Ortiz knows this is no time for a closing chapter.
"Well, like I always tell you guys, I'm planning on finishing my career here and trust me, when I stop playing here, I would like to not be packing to go home at this time [of year]," Ortiz said. "Right now, I'm feeling pretty good about my injury finally feeling better and moving forward with that. Once I see that, I definitely feel like there's something that I still have to prove.
"You know, every year it's the same. Every year you have to come in and prove something. But the thing that I keep in mind that I think I can prove is for the team to play better and put ourselves in a better situation for the years to come. I would like to be a part of it."
Ortiz said he hasn't spoken directly with ownership about an extension, but seems to be of the belief that good things are ahead.
"We really haven't, but it seems like they're interested in bringing me back, so we'll see," said Ortiz.
As bad as this season has been for the Red Sox, Ortiz feels a turnaround can happen in short order.
"No question. I'm pretty sure it's going to be better next year," Ortiz said.
What makes him believe this?
"Options," Ortiz said. "You know, there's always options in baseball. Choices. And this team has plenty of reason for good choices. We'll see."
Though the Red Sox have taken a hit as an organization in 2012, Ortiz doesn't think it will dissuade free agents from coming to Boston.
"I don't think so," Ortiz said. "I think as a player, when you hear what you want to have, what you're looking for, I think you'll put things to the side. The bottom line is that when you can perform at this level, it doesn't matter where you go or what you're going to end up doing -- you're supposed to do it. Hopefully a free agent doesn't put those kind of things in their mind. If you play well, you're going to be OK and that's worldwide."
Though Ortiz didn't identify one specific positional need for the Red Sox going forward, he would like to see the type of mentally tough players the Red Sox had for their World Series championship teams in 2004 and '07.
"I mean, yesterday, I kind of realized what type of personality you have to put together to try to win a World Series when I was looking around at all of my ex-teammates [during the '04 reunion] and guys that I played with," he said. "I got some short and quick highlights from the things they used to do to get ready to play the game and what they used to do when we were on the field.
"You have a closer like Keith Foulke not throwing 100, but hitting the spots with his pitches. And he helped us to win the World Series. You have guys like Pedro [Martinez] with the ability and the mentality to play the game and help us to win ballgames. All those guys. [Tim] Wakefield, 'Tek, it was something special coming out of them every day. That's how you win ballgames. That's how you come to be a World [Series] champion."