Ortiz dismisses Girardi ire about bat flip
June, 8, 2011
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER/US PresswireDavid Ortiz follows through on his fifth-inning homer off the Yankees' Hector Noesi.NEW YORK -- Yankee manager Joe Girardi, whose mood undoubtedly had already darkened when he had to help slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira limp off the field in the first inning after being hit by a pitch by Jon Lester, objected to the way David Ortiz flipped his bat following his two-run home run Tuesday night.
“I didn’t really care for it,” Girardi said after the Yankees’ 6-4 loss to the Sox. “I don’t know if he was upset that he missed some pitches earlier. You know, I’ve got a young kid [Hector Noesi] on the mound. I didn’t know if [Ortiz] was upset that he came in hard on him.”
Prediction: For those smelling the start of a controversy that will have carryover to Wednesday night, forget it. This isn’t an insouciant kid like Bryce Harper blowing a kiss to a pitcher as he circles the bases. This is David Ortiz, who probably ranks at the top of the list of every team’s favorite opponent, and that includes the Yankees.
The Yankees, like everybody else, form a conga line of greeters during batting practice to exchange banter with Ortiz, which is probably why most Pinstripers claimed to have not witnessed the dramatic way Ortiz dispatched his bat after connecting for a two-run home run off Noesi in the top of the fifth.
Ortiz sounded genuinely mystified when he heard that Girardi had taken exception in his postgame press conference.
“I mean, it’s not my first time, it’s not going to be my last time,’’ Ortiz said of the way he airmailed his piece of maple after connecting for his 14th home run of the season, the most on the team.
“Big deal. I enjoy the game. I’m a home run hitter. It’s not like I do it all the time. It’s part of the excitement, you know what I mean? What can I tell you?’’
Pressed about his emotions in that moment, he reacted with amusement.
“I just went deep,’’ he said. “You want more emotion than that? It was just another home run for Papi, you know what I’m saying?’’
Ortiz said it never occurred to him that when Noesi had come inside with the previous pitch, that he might have been trying to retaliate for Teixeira getting kneecapped by Lester with a cutter.
“It was just an inside pitch,’’ he said. “The guy yanked it. It happens.
“I don’t think Lester hit him on purpose. It was just a cutter that went in and hit him. We were hurting when we saw that too. We don’t want to see that happen, you know. But things happen that there’s nothing you can do about it.’’
Lester also asserted he was in no way throwing at the Yankee slugger, and had to work at maintaining focus after Teixeira went down. The Yankees announced after the game that Teixeira had a bruise and X-rays were negative.
“You hit a guy like that and see him go off the field obviously not feeling good, it’s not easy to get back on the mound and throw strikes,’’ he said.
Lester also hit Yankees catcher Russell Martin in virtually the same spot with another cutter. “Guys don’t move,’’ he said, “because they think it’s a fastball. They don’t expect it to cut in.’’