BOSTON (CBS) — When David Ortiz left in the ninth inning of Thursday afternoon’s loss in Toronto, the general thought was that he’d miss Friday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays and his good friend David Price.
But a sore back won’t keep Ortiz out of the Boston lineup Friday night, and he’s ready to bat third against a pitcher who has taken aim at the Sox DH twice this season.
Price and Ortiz have had some bad blood dating back to last October, and it boiled over in late June when the Rays came to Fenway.
While the two had a good amount of respect for each other heading into last year’s ALDS matchup, that apparently went out the window after Price felt Papi enjoyed watching a postseason home run a little too much. The Cy Young winner had some advice for Ortiz after Game 2, a game in which Ortiz took Price deep twice.
“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was fair. Run,” Price said after the playoff loss.
Fast forward to May 30 this year, when the Rays were back at Fenway. In Price’s first start against the Red Sox and Ortiz since the playoffs, he plunked Ortiz in the slugger’s first at-bat.
A whole bunch of nonsense ensued in that game, and Ortiz had some less than positive things to say towards the Rays’ ace.
“I have a lot of respect for the guy, man, but it’s over. I’ve got no more respect for him,” Ortiz said of Price. “Last year, we kicked his ass in the playoffs, he went off, talking [expletive] about everybody, Tom Verducci and everybody, players. We kind of got to talk on the phone, we kind of straightened things out. He was kind of upset, you know, and me as a veteran, I kind of let him know how things go in this game and later on, he called me and apologized, because he knew he was wrong. He apologized in public, he apologized to myself and everything, and everything was cool.
“So first at-bat of the season against him, he drills me. That means it’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves on. I have no respect for him no more.”
Price stayed quiet following the game, but fired back at Ortiz the next day.
“It’s just the way he’s been, I guess,” Price said of Ortiz. “It’s just — nobody’s bigger than the game of baseball, and sometimes the way he acts out there, he kind of looks like he’s bigger than the game of baseball. That’s not the way it is, that’s not the way it goes. I definitely had tremendous amounts of respect for Big Papi. He’s probably going to go down as the greatest DH to ever play this game, and for somebody like that I feel like you have to have respect for that person. But, you know, I guess that’s how it goes.”
Clearly, there’s not a lot of mutual respect left between these two players. Will Price seek revenge on Ortiz with another “inside pitch” that sails a little too far inside, or will he make the decision to try to get Ortiz out? We’ll have to tune in for the potential fireworks.
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