Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Bobby V: Ortiz 'decided not to play'
Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine on Tuesday said slugger David Ortiz sidelined himself after a brief return from an Achilles injury -- not because of soreness but because the team made a blockbuster deal that sealed their playoff fate.
Ortiz was on the disabled list from July 18 to late August with a strained right Achilles. He went 2 for 4 with two RBIs in a one-game return Aug. 24. The next day, the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers was made official.
The Red Sox were 60-66 on Aug. 24, 13 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 8 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.
"He realized that this trade meant that we're not going to run this race and we're not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore," Valentine said in an interview airing Tuesday night on "Costas Tonight" on NBC Sports Network. "I think at that time it was all downhill from there."
Ortiz returned to the disabled list on Aug. 27 and never came off it.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington vehemently denied the former manager's accusation when reached by ESPNBoston.com for comment Tuesday night.
"I wouldn't be trying to re-sign him if I had any concern about David's commitment to baseball or to the Red Sox," Cherington said. "During a trying year, David was a leader for us on and off the field. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury cut his season short. It was a tough break in a season full of tough breaks for us."
The Red Sox and Ortiz are closing in on a two-year contract extension that could be finalized in the next week, according to a baseball source.