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Sunday, May 12, 2013
Slumping Ortiz gets day off

By Tony Lee, Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Designated hitter David Ortiz is out of the lineup Sunday against Blue Jays right-hander Chad Jenkins. It is nothing more than a rest day for Ortiz, as the Red Sox can utilize Sunday and their off day Monday to give their slumping slugger a solid chunk of time off.

Ortiz is 1-for-17 with four strikeouts in his last four games. Much of his swoon came in the wake of a column by The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, who asked Ortiz if his hot start had been aided by performance enhancers.

After Saturday’s loss, Ortiz spotted Shaughnessy while leaving the Red Sox clubhouse and exclaimed, “Look who it is!” Ortiz then informed Shaughnessy in front of dozens of media members and team personnel that he had been tested the same day of Shaughnessy’s column, and further expressed his displeasure as he exited the room with Shaughnessy in tow.

Farrell said he has not needed to address the issue directly with Ortiz, and cites his recent slump as nothing more than a correction after such a torrid beginning.

“Much like any guy that comes in. Daily monitoring, conversation, I’ve had multiple conversations with him over a period of time. Not about any one thing in specific, just normal interactions,” Farrell said. “He gets off to a great start, goes into a little bit of a, three or four games, where he might have been pulling off the ball a little more than he did when he first rejoined us. There’s nothing abnormal here. We’d love to think that he’s going to hit .500 for the whole year but that’s probably going to tail off at some point.”

Farrell said he liked the way Ortiz’s one hit Saturday, which snapped an 0-for-17 slide, went to the opposite field, just as many of his hits did when he was hot.

* Another struggling left-handed hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury, was in his customary spot atop the lineup for the series finale against the Jays. He had a big RBI triple off the wall in center field Saturday but it stands as one of only four hits in 31 at-bats over a span of seven games. What’s troubling the speedy center fielder?

“There’s been some times where it seems he gets tied up a little bit,” Farrell said. “Whether that’s because of him being a little bit closed off with his lower half that’s caused him to be a little bit late through the hitting zone. I know it’s the one area he’s trying to adjust and work on right now, just trying to keep him a little more square. He’s right now a little bit open to a more closed approach and that’s causing him to be blocked off a little bit. That leads to a little bit of a timing issue.”

The timing of the triple was perfect, for it sliced Toronto’s 2-0 lead in half, and when Ellsbury trotted home moments later the game was tied. However, he hit a weak tapper back to the mound to end the game with the tying run on second.

Ellsbury has just two extra-base hits in his last 15 games.