Red Sox

Ortiz ‘Ready For Whenever’ Sox Need Him Off Bench

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David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox slides safely past Eric Fryer #69 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on June 26, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox slides safely past Eric Fryer #69 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on June 26, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Much was made of the fact the Boston Red Sox would have to go nine games without a designated hitter on their National League road trip.

David Ortiz did not start the first three games, but tried to make an impact off the bench.

“There’s not too much you can do about it, just be ready,” Ortiz said after Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Pirates. “I told Tito, I’m ready for whenever you need me, I’m going to try my best.”

“Tremendous,” manager Terry Francona said about his DH coming off the bench. “He’s hit in all three games, so it’s not like he’s gone a week without playing. He got a 3-1 pitch and hit it just foul and lays off the breaking ball. That’s a good at-bat.”

Ortiz was 0-for-2 in the series, with a walk and run scored in Sunday’s finale. He scored Boston’s final run, giving them a 4-2 cushion in the seventh inning. Ortiz tagged up on a Kevin Youkilis fly out to right, making contact with catcher Eric Fryer as he touched home plate.

“I went with everything I had,” said Ortiz after the game. “I just come in and tried to slide. The catcher was in the way and I touched him. It wasn’t that bad though.”

His manager remembered it differently.

“The big fella got the legs moving,” said Francona. “I don’t know about that slide; it was like a car accident.”

Ortiz may get a start at first within the next few games, with Francona opting to give Adrian Gonzalez the day off or shifting him to right field. It will be tough to take Gonzalez and his ML-leading .361 batting average out of the lineup, but it would be better than risking injury in the outfield.

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“He wanted to,” Ortiz said of Gonzalez offering to play right, “but remember, you run the risk of him getting injured right there and you don’t want to do that.”

“It’s something that you can really, me personally, I don’t want to see Adrian get hurt out there,” said Ortiz.

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