(FORT MYERS, Fla.) – The Boston Red Sox will officially begin spring training on Friday, and they will be without superstar designated hitter David Ortiz for the first time since 2002. Ortiz retired in the offseason following an All Star 2016 campaign and a career that spanned 20 years, the final 14 of which were spent with Boston.
Outfielder Mookie Betts, who joined the club his rookie year in 2014, told reporters it was “weird” and “different” for players not seeing Ortiz at his locker this spring. Betts is one of the players who reported to spring training early this year. He is one of many young players that will try to replace Ortiz’s production, particularly in regards to power. Ortiz led the majors in RBI and doubles last year. Another offseason acquisition, Mitch Moreland, could start at first base and give the Red Sox lineup some left-handed power as well.
The Red Sox will also look to pitching to replace Ortiz. The team acquired ace Chris Sale in a December trade with the White Sox. When asked if he has any advice for his first year in Boston, fellow lefty ace David Price, who joined the Red Sox last offseason, told reporters he wants Sale to “go out there, be yourself, and have fun.” He added: “Chris Sale is good enough for us.”
ESPN reports the Red Sox have talked with Ortiz about a post-playing role, possibly in an advisory capacity similar to former pitcher Pedro Martinez. To this point, Ortiz hasn’t committed to getting back into baseball anytime in the near future.
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