Coming off a break to clear his head and polish his stroke, Ortiz will bat third for the Sox in Game 3 of the series against the Texas Rangers Saturday night at Globe Life Park. The series stands at a game apiece.
Manager John Farrell said through the use of video, it was determined that the 39-year-old designated hitter has been coming off the ball early and not hitting with a firm left side.
Ortiz is batting .216 with six home runs. Before being rested in the first two games of the series, Ortiz was hitless in four of five starts.
“We knew he’d be in the third spot when he came back,’’ Farrell said.
With 19 home runs, Oritz is tied for second for the most home runs by a visiting player at Globe Life Park. Jason Giambi is the leader with 20.
Ortiz has an active 14-game hitting streak in Arlington, dating back to 2009. In his last 14 games at the stadium, Ortiz is batting .327 with seven homers and 12 RBI.
Ortiz’ return to the lineup coincides with the first major league start by Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, promoted today from Triple-A Round Rock.
Frustration release: The ejection of Mike Napoli in the eighth inning of Friday night’s game was the third of his career. All have been as a member of the Sox.
“I was just frustrated,’’ said the nine-year veteran.
Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor called Napoli out on strikes for the second time in the game, leading to the ejection.
“I actually felt better when I got tossed,’’ he said.
Farrell took up the fight for Napoli and was also ejected.
“He’s in the battle with us,’’ Napoli said.
An inning earlier, Dustin Pedroia had issues with a called third strike by Tichenor. Farrell stepped between player and umpire to defuse that situation.
“It built up over time,’’ Napoli said. “Borderline pitches weren’t going my way.’’
No need for an apology to Tichenor, Napoli said: “He knows it was the heat of battle.’’
Napoli, the AL player of the week for May 18-24, went 0-for-2 with a run scored and two walks, the seventh time in eight games he has reached base multiple times.
Competing for spots: The short-term move to a six-man pitching rotation will create competition as the Red Sox streamline to the preferred five-man rotation.
Farrell announced the move to a six-man rotation on the heels of an impressive major league debut by left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in a 5-1 win over Texas on Thursday.
The plan is to use six starters until the current stretch of 20 games in 20 days ends on June 7.
To varying degrees, every pitcher that goes to the mound is competing for a spot, Farrell said. And just because a couple of starters have prior bullpen experience will not necessarily factor into the decision process.
On June 8, the Red Sox next off day, past and present results will be weighed in making rotation plans going forward.
Notes: Infielder Jeff Bianchi, designated for assignment on Thursday, has chosen free agency. ... The four runs allowed by the bullpen in 2.1 innings of Friday’s 7-4 loss to Texas are the most since Toronto scored six in 6 1/3innings on April 28. ... In his last 17 starts, tonight’s Sox starter Wade Miley has not allowed a home run to a left-handed batter and has given up just one home run to a left-handed hitter in his last 26 starts.