Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Ortiz keeps it loose during pregame
By Chris Girandola, Special to ESPNBoston.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Ortiz lived up to his "Big Papi" moniker Tuesday before Game 4 of the AL Division Series against the Rays by playing a game of Home Run Derby with the 2-year-old son of childhood friend, Gus Gandarillas.
While the rest of the team did the customary pregame stretching, Ortiz acted as the pitcher to Gandarillas' son. Ortiz spent about 10 minutes tossing a soft toy baseball to the left-handed swinging toddler, who peppered Ortiz with comeback line drives and fly balls that drifted into the Red Sox warm-up circle.
Ortiz even had a couple of shots hit him in the gut, to which the slugger responded in a playful way by rolling to the ground in feigned agony.
Big Papi then added to the fun by using an aluminum bat in batting practice following his regular round of hits with a wooden bat. He took 10 swings, with nine of his shots either ricocheting off the back wall of Tropicana Field past the right-field bleachers or landing over the rays touch tank, where Rays' pinch hitter Jose Lobaton smacked a walk-off homer to win Game 3. (For the record, Ortiz hit the top of the cage on one of the swings.)