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Hall: 'Just go out and be Big Papi'

BOSTON -- So, Bill Hall was asked, do you think a speed burner like David Ortiz regretted having his triple taken away from him Wednesday night, umpires deciding it was a home run after reviewing replays?

“When was his last one?’ Hall asked, playing along.

Told that Ortiz hit one last season, Hall said, “He’s got more than me. I don’t think I got one in four years. Pull up at second. They pay us for doubles.

“Just kidding. But actually, I haven’t had one in a really long time. I can’t remember the last one.’’

The story would have been better if it was true. Hall’s memory was a little faulty. Actually he did hit one last season, last Sept. 13 in Texas while playing for Seattle, and hit another one in ’08. But in total number of triples, Ortiz is actually pretty close. The Sox slugger has 14 in all, and came into this season with a streak of at least one triple in each season since 2000. Hall, meanwhile, has 18, including a career-high 6 in 2005.

“I think he’ll take the home run,’’ Hall said. “Extra RBI, adds to the slugging percentage. I’m sure he’s pretty happy about it. David has been swinging the bat really well.’’

Indeed.

Ortiz has raised his batting average more than 100 percentage points since the beginning of the month, from the .143 he was batting in April to .248 entering Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

In the first 14 games of May, he is batting .358 (19 for 53), with 7 home runs and 17 RBIs. He is slugging .774 for the month.

“He’s going to be huge for us, if we can keep him swinging the bat like this,’’ Hall said. “We’re going to get right where we need to be, and he’s going to be in the center of that. He’s going to come up in a lot of situations where we’ll need him to be big, and obviously the last couple of weeks he’s been doing that, giving us a chance to win games. He’s like, hitting a home run every other day.

“I’m happy for him. Obviously, he got off to a rough start, the pressure was put on him. But look at everybody’s stats. The proven guys’ stats are always there at the end of the year.

“We kept confidence in David, we tried to keep him as confident as possible and let him know he’s Big Papi. Just go out and be Big Papi. That’s what he’s doing now.’’

Hall was pressed into service Wednesday night as shortstop when Marco Scutaro was administered a cortisone shot for an inflamed left elbow. He responded by turning a double play on Joe Mauer’s hard-hit liner in the first, doubling Orlando Hudson off first base.

“I caught Orlando sleeping a little bit,’’ he said. “I made the strong throw, got the double play and got us out of the first. [Clay Buchholz] went to rolling after that.’’

Hall also singled in what proved to be the winning run in the sixth, when Adrian Beltre, Jeremy Hermida and Hall all delivered base hits with two out.

“Adrian grinded out good at-bats and got a base hit, Jeremy did the same thing, and (Twins pitcher Scott Baker) probably wishes he could take back the pitch he threw me,’’ Hall said. “But I grinded out a good at-bat, got a hit, and it scored a big run for us.

“We do have a home run hitting ballclub, but when we can get three singles in a row and score a run, that’s going to make the team that much better.’’

The start at short was only Hall’s second of the season. His other start came on the season’s first weekend in Kansas City. With lefty Liriano pitching for the Twins Thursday, he was back in the outfield, with Angel Sanchez, just called up from Pawtucket, playing short while Scutaro recovers from his shot.

“I feel comfortable,’’ Hall said of playing short, where he has not played regularly since 2006. “It’s a position I played my whole life. We didn’t get to take any ground balls today (because of the rain), but I get in my work all the time.

“It’s a little more difficult because of the platoon situation with Jeremy in left field, but I still make sure I get my ground balls and stay ready, because obviously you never know what will happen. I know my job is to go in there and not hurt us on defense.’’