Keep on battling

I used to stress out too much about the way things would go around here. But it seems like it doesn’t matter what you do or how much you stress out. People sometimes don’t realize how hard it is for us to deal with some of the things we’ve had to deal with this year. I think everybody has stepped up and done their thing. Everybody is trying their best out there.

It’s been a tough year, but like I say, you just have to deal with it and suck it up. We’re battling and playing some good games. After that, what else can you do? Maybe this can bring out the best in us. Hang in there, play hard and try to keep doing what we’re doing.

What’s killed us is all these injuries. Youk, Pedey, Ellsbury — those are three big pieces to take out of our lineup. That’s what kills. You’re talking about some of your best players out there in the game, and they’re not there. But what can you do? Fight back with what you have. That’s it.

You see these guys around here still supporting us though. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

I feel good at this time of the season. I’m the kind of guy where I know what I’m capable of doing. That’s me. People might have tried to get you down earlier in the year, but I wasn’t interested in that. I work every day. I get prepared to play and whateverhappens happens.

Whatever happens after this year, I’m just going to wait and not worry about that right now. Can’t worry about that right now. I think I’ve already shown what I can do.

Look, we still have 31 games left, and that’s what I’m focusing on. You never know what can happen. We’re going to have to keep on playing. The only thing we can do to change things this last month is to win as many as we can.

Hanging tough

We keep getting injuries, and that’s not good, but we’re still getting it done. I’ll tell you one thing — I can’t wait until my boy Pedey comes back. You know why? Because he won’t stop talking in the dugout, that’s why. He is talking a lot of trash, just screaming, that’s what we have to deal with now. You know I’m just kidding, Pedey! I hope he gets back soon. We’re going to miss him.

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It’s unbelievable, though, to go through all this stuff at once. After Pedey got hurt Friday, Clay Buchholz went out with that knee injury Saturday and then Victor Martinez took the foul ball off his thumb on Sunday. How often do you see injuries come up like this at the same time? We have to go through that every year but we don’t need that right now, you know what I’m saying?

But like I said, we’re putting it together. We’ve got no choice. You saw our bullpen that day in San Francisco when Buchholz got hurt. They went out and gave us eight great innings and we won. That was a total team effort. You can see everybody is trying to do something.

I’ll tell you one thing, too. I’m glad we’re done with Interleague. I was able to hit a home run in that water on Sunday in San Francisco, and you know I wanted to hit that water bad. But it’s not easy stepping in against a guy like Tim Lincecum after not playing for two days in a row.

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I wasn’t feeling the way I like to feel. Let me tell you something. When you don’t play for two days and then go against one of the best pitchers in the game, that’s not the way you want to go out there. But you’ve just got to go out and try your best, so I was glad it worked out.

Lincecum didn’t have his best stuff, but his delivery is funky. He might not have the velocity he used to, but you can still feel that explosion. When he used to throw 95 or 96, that had to be crazy.

This week, we faced not just Lincecum, but Ubaldo Jimenez. Those are two of the best guys out there. We got to both of them, which says a lot about our team. What can you do? You have no other options but to bring your “A” game  game and try your best.

I can put my glove back in storage for a while. But I had to use it this week, and that’s fine. I’m down with whatever. It’s not what you want to really do, because you’re not really used to it. But just go out there and have fun and try your best. Everybody knows you’re not out there every day, so I was saying to people early in the week, “Keep me in your prayers!”.

It’s hard when you’re not out there on defense every day. But I don’t put any of that on myself. When I got out there, it’s just to have fun and not try to worry about things. If you question yourself, you’ll make it worse.

Anyway, we’ll get back to the American League now. We’ll take a day off on Monday and then take it back to the house and play Tampa Bay.

As we get within a couple of weeks of the All-Star break, I feel great this year. I worked hard in the winter. I’ll just keep on working, and keep on hitting.

A big month and hopefully, more in store

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It was nice to hear on Wednesday that I got the American League’s Player of the Month Award for May. That’s good stuff, real good stuff. I’m just going to continue doing that and try to get a few more.

What’s really nice is that both the Player and Pitcher of the Month came from our team. Jon Lester did a great job, too. He was awesome. He’s been pitching his butt off. Like I said, we’re going to try to continue it, because it makes a huge difference, him pitching like that and me hitting the way I was. Of course, with the support of all our teammates and fans, it makes it even better.

The team and I were kind of in the same situation in April, both struggling. So this kind of tells me that when I get it going, good things happen.

The stats say that this past month I had the best combination of average and power I’ve had in a long time. The average thing isn’t a huge deal to me. Of course, everyone wants to hit for average, but in my case, it’s a little bit of craziness, because what I fight for my average is hitting the ball down in the hole like any left-handed power hitter. They have that shift on, and if you take the 10, 15 balls in the hole away from me, there’s not going to be average showing up.

I worry about my average, but I don’t really worry about it. I should be hitting .300 now, but it ain’t like that. I’m producing, getting some RBIs, hitting some homers, that’s part of my game, too, and that’s one thing I try to increase.

The month of May started well right away for me. I had two homers on May 1 in Baltimore. Like I always say, hits bring confidence. It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how great you feel. If you don’t get hits, you feel like you didn’t get it done. One good night gives you a chance to have another good night. Or maybe one good night gives you a chance to battle a bad night and come back with another good night, and that’s how it goes.

Last week was about a lot more than baseball for me. I had my Eat n’ Greet at Big Papi’s Grille on May 27, raising money for my foundation, which helps kids in need of critical care. As I’ve talked about a lot before in this space and other places, that cause means so much to me.

Then, the next day, it was something different altogether. I flew to New York to pay respects to my good friend Jose Lima, who died recently. Man, he was 37 years old. That really hit me hard.

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He was a happy person. He brought a lot of happiness away from others when he died. When I saw him in that casket, I was like, ‘We ain’t nothing.’ That’s a man full of life and happiness and the next thing you know, 37-year-old, massive heart attack. That hit home.

I’m a huge believer in what God has for us. You have to live by that rule. If you try and change it, it’s not going to work. When I got back from that, it just made me think, “I’ve got to love life.” I see people complaining about stupid things. That’s why I try not to change my personality.

The day he died, it really hit me. We were in Philly that day. Ask the guys. I was destroyed that day. I couldn’t believe this. That’s my boy, man. That’s my dude. That’s my dog right there. When I found about that, you start thinking about all the things we did together, all the good times. I don’t remember being around him one day where he didn’t make me laugh. Not one day. That’s why I’m telling you when I saw him, I had a 20-minute highlight in my head. I saw his kids, his wife, his family, everything.

I knew him for more than 14 years. We played on the same winter ball team. RIP to my good friend Jose.

Just to let you know, I’ll be part of another event on June 12. I partnered with my good friends at the Four Seasons over on Boylston for the Run of Hope. They always support my efforts, so I had the David Ortiz Children’s Fund partner together with them on this fundraiser to help support a good cause. I will kick off the children’s 50-yard “Fun Run” at 10 a.m. There will be a 5K run at 10:30 and the 2K walk at 10:35. Everyone should try to get involved. It’s a great cause.

You can find out more about the event at FourSeasonsRunofHope.com. And to learn more about the David Ortiz  Children’s Fund, go to DavidOrtizChildrensFund.org.

Come to my Eat n’ Greet

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I just wanted to tell all of you about an event we are holding at my restaurant in Framingham, Mass. — Big Papi’s Grille. What it’s going to be is an Eat n’ Greet, so you can come on by and see me and get your picture taken with me and all that stuff. It’s on May 27, which is a week from Thursday. It will be from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The best part about it? All funds raised will benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which is geared toward raising money for kids who need open-heart surgery. We will also launch the newest item from Big Papi’s Kitchen, peach mango salsa.

Tickets can be purchased at Big Papi’s Grille, by calling 212-461-4083 or online by clicking here.

For more info on the event, click here.

Raising money for kids who need it is great, man. That’s the way we roll with things and as long as you’re helping people, there’s nothing better than that. That’s the way to go.

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People are going to like the food at my restaurant. We’re always fixing things up just right there. But just to do this for a good cause and helping people out and things like that, I think it’s good.

There’s a lot of people out there that need help from people like us, so if I can do it, I just go for it. So come on by. You will have a good time.

Getting my groove back

As you can probably tell, I’m feeling a little better at the plate lately. I’ve really been going out of my way to just focus on each at-bat as it comes and not think so much about the big picture.

I just realized the other day that when you’re playing, you don’t think about things so much. But when you sit around, it makes you think about things more. So what I was thinking about is that it’s May 11, and we play all the way until October. I’m one of those guys, where there have been plenty of times that I’ve made my whole season in two months. When I first got here in 2003, I didn’t even start playing every day until the second half of the season and look at what I did that year.

Even last year, I didn’t really start producing until June. I’m just taking things slowly and trying my best to make things happen. I just knew we would start playing better. Just take each day and try to win.

For the team, it’s the same thing. We had a slow start, but you can feel us starting to come around. People get depressed when they see a few games that don’t go how they expect, but we’ll be OK.

To be honest, I feel great right now. I feel the way I like to be right now. I started to feel a difference after the road trip. I started figuring a lot of things out and now you can see the difference. I’m just not playing every day right now, but if I start producing consistently like I can, I’m expecting the playing time will get back to normal.

One thing that has been a lot of fun for me lately is having my 5-year-old son, D’Angelo, at the park with me so much. That’s my life. That’s what I’m all about. Whenever I can have him with me, I take him with me. If he doesn’t have school, I’ll bring him over here to Fenway and teach him how to do the right things.

He loves being around here. He told me straightout, when I wasn’t even expecting it, “Daddy, I love hanging out with you.” That’s how they stay away from trouble. He just watches everything I do.

You see him out there at the batting cage just having a blast. He loves swinging. He will wear people out and just swing all day.

I’ll fight back

How am I doing? I’m doing fine, man. Just regrouping. Obviously, this wasn’t the start I wanted to get off to, but I’ll go back and fight and be back out there trying my best. Nobody said it would be easy, you know what I mean?

It was good to get that first home run out of the way on Friday night. The first
one is the hardest one sometimes. I’ve been working really hard on my swing,
man. It’s coming. It’s getting there. 

Having those two days off in a row this week, I can’t say if it was good for me because I haven’t had two days off in a row in a long time. I don’t like to be off, but it’s going to depend on me.

If I start hitting, then I won’t be off for two days in a row or more. I just need to start hitting and show everyone that I can still do it, you know what I’m saying? That way, I’ll make sure to keep myself in the lineup. 

Getting pinch-hit for on Tuesday was a tough thing, I’m not going to lie to you. Like I say, I guess I have a lot of things to prove here, and that’s going to be it for now.

Tito and I have always had a great relationship. I went in and talked to him the next day. We were just talking about a few things that we’ll keep inside. It was basically about a few things we wanted to clear up.

I just need to start hitting so it doesn’t happen again. Like I said to some other people today, it was maybe my first embarrassing moment wearing this uniform. We were looking for a win at the time. I wasn’t swinging the bat very good.

The manager sometimes has to make a decision. It’s hard for Tito, just like it’s hard for me. It’s part of the game, and he was basically telling me, “We want you to get ready, we need you to get ready because we need you.” I have to put myself together. This isn’t where I like to be. I know that when I get there, everything is going to go back to normal. Just watch.

Sometimes what people say gets old. They ask you if you can still do it. How much longer are you going to ask that question? That’s not what it is. It’s just a matter of not doing things right at the plate and then things get away from you.

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I guarantee, if I know that you’re going to throw me a 99-mph fastball, I’m going to hit it. I guarantee you that. It’s not like I can’t do it anymore. It’s all about rhythm. Hitting is all about rhythm. If you don’t have rhythm, you’re not going to make it. Especially a guy like me. I don’t get away with bad swings. It’s as simple as that. 

I’m just going through some mechanical things. I’ll be alright. I had the bad start last year and bounced back. It wasn’t like I was looking forward to another tough start, but I’ve bounced back before.

I don’t know how to explain it because I was feeling great about myself when we left camp. I think all the negativity after two games made me mad and maybe made me try to do too much. I’ll tell you one thing though, I’ve already put that on the side. I’m just going to go back and act normal and whatever happens will happen.

As a team, we also didn’t start out how we wanted to. As you can see, it’s not just one guy. It’s pretty much everyone struggling. But we know how to regroup. We know how to put it back together and make things happen. Like Manny said when we were down 3-1 in the ’07 ALCS, it’s not the end of the world. You know what I’m saying? You’ve just got to bounce back and do better, regardless.

Let’s get it started

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I’m pretty excited to go ahead and get this season started. I’ve been wanting to get my body out of Florida for the last few weeks. That happens every spring at this time.

We’re looking good as a team, I can tell you that. We’re looking forward to having a good season. We have a lot of new players. We have good defense. We have a lot of talented players. We have a few veterans that have come back in and joined us.

I think, you know, our team is focused on pitching and defense this year after what we did in the offseason. I think they did well picking up the players they picked up. I’m pretty sure that in the long run, they’re going to help us out a lot. Oh man, we have Beltre, Scutaro, Bill Hall, Mike Cameron. Lackey, oh man, he makes the game look so easy. I love having him over here. It’s crazy after facing him all those years.

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I’m not going to lie to you, this was one of the best springs I’ve had in a while just because of my body. In ’08, I was coming off knee surgery. Last year, I was coming off the wrist problem. This year, there’s been nothing. I’m not going to lie to you, I think it’s just one of those things where you come in pain-free and you feel good. I haven’t been had any pain or anything. It feels great. It’s a good feeling.

How do I feel about my swing right now? Well, you really don’t know until you get there. You can feel great in Spring Training and when the season starts, you could start struggling and you’d be like, ‘what happened? I said a week ago I was where I wanted to be’. And then other times, you’re not feeling right and you walk into the season and start banging and something pops for you, something clicks. I feel good right now. I feel like I’m ready for the season and I’m ready to go out there and do some damage.

Some people have asked me how I feel going into the season because of my contract situation. Right now, I’m just focusing on the season and getting prepared for that. That other stuff will get taken care of. This will be my eighth year here and I love it here and I’ve never even thought about being anywhere else. But you know how things go, you never know. Hopefully I’ll never have to leave.

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It’s going to be fun to start it up on Sunday night against the Yankees. I remember when we did that in ’05. We just want to get started.

And to the fans, I just want to ask you all to just come support us like always and enjoy the season that’s about to start.

Tough way to see it end

Wow, to have it end like it did, that’s  not the best feeling. You’re mentally prepared to keep on playing, but things like this happen. It kind of shocks you for a minute.

We tried, man. The Angels are a great team. Those guys are playing really good. You have to give them credit.

To be one strike away in the ninth and not finish it, what can you say? That tells you how crazy this game is. You’ve got one of your best pitchers on the mound. You’ve got one strike to have another game. I don’t remember anything like that happening to Pap before. This game is something where you just never know. Anything can happen any time and it was his day today.

Pap is our man. He made good pitches. Like I say, those guys had been playing great, coming through and that’s the game.

Getting swept, that’s another thing you don’t think will happen, but that’s how the game goes. We’ve finished people off in three games before, too. That tells you as quick as you can beat someone, the same thing can happen to you.

We were ready for another game. We almost got one. But things didn’t happen and you saw the result.

How did it happen? We faced good pitching. Those guys pitched really good. They held us down. I told you, you’ve got to come with a mindset of playing good baseball and trying to win, and we did. We played a good game, but they bounced back. It never seemed like the end of the day would be like this.

This year is in the past. Next year is a new year and I’ll be ready to play. This year is behind me, believe me. I don’t deal with negative stuff too much. I’ve always been like that. Even after my first two months, I put it in the past. I’ll forget about that and keep on going to the next season. It was a year where I learned a lot of things and I can put them in play the following year.

One more thing. Thanks to the fans for supporting the team and I all season.

Hoping to be comeback specialists again

Ortiz325.jpgWe’ve been here before, backs against the wall, no margin for error, and come back on teams. There’s no choice now but to do it again. We’ve got to play to win and continue the season.

Our offense got shut down these first two games, but they’ve been pitching well. Good pitching can stop good offense. That’s what they’ve been doing to hold us down.

We’ve been playing better at home all year long. Hopefully going back home will give us a better chance, and we’ll try to come back here for a Game 5.

We hit better at home, everyone knows that. So hopefully that will be the case when we get back there on Sunday. Time to go back to the house and get it done.

I remember in ’03 we were faced with this situation after losing the first two in Oakland and we won that series. And everyone remembers ’04 and ’07 and the comebacks we made in the ALCS. Can that help us now?

We’ll see. We never change our mentality. We always try to keep on winning games and we’ll try to bounce back. We’re the specialists in that one.

This is what the situation is now and there’s nothing we can do about it. You have to play against whoever and beat whoever, and Sunday, all we’ll think about is playing well in that game. The last two guys, John Lackey and Jered Weaver, they’ve done a good job. We’ll try to see some pitches to hit and drive them.

The home crowd always pumps us up. So the fans just need to support us like always and I’m sure they will. Hopefully Fenway is as loud as it was for us as it was for the Angels in Anaheim. That would really help.

Trying to bounce back

Papi275.jpgWe came out here in the past and were able to take Game 1 from these guys, but that’s not how it’s going to be this time. They had a great pitching performance this time. John Lackey was on. He made good pitches. What can you do?

You play to win, especially in a short series, so we’re not going to change our mindset just because of one loss. Just because you lose a game, you can’t change anything. You want to come the next day with the same mentality, ready to go, and let it happen.

When you have pitching like Jon Lester and Lackey going against each other, you know that it’s usually just going to be one mistake that’s going to be the difference and change the whole game. Too bad that the mistake from Lester was against one of their best hitters. I know Torii Hunter, I know him well. We’re close friends, and we played together in Minnesota and I know how he is. He was fired up and when he’s fired up, look out.

We had a little bit of a layoff coming into Game 1. There were no games in three days. I’m not going to make excuses, but I hate layoffs.  That’s how it goes sometimes this time of year. You’ve got to get used to it.

I didn’t have a good night at the plate, but Lackey was making nasty pitches. They don’t want to make a mistake to me, you know that. They pitched me real carefully. That’s how it is. When good pitchers pitch in that kind of game, they want to make sure they stay on top of their game.

We’re excited to get out there again for Game 2. We have Josh Beckett. You can’t ask for much more than that. Everyone knows what he’s done in October. He’s been pitching great and we need a quality start out there.

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