ST. LOUIS — David Ortiz would prefer to remain with the Boston Red Sox.
Following an unprecedented September collapse, manager Terry Francona left, general manager Theo Epstein is on the verge of quitting to take a job with the Cubs and the team is in turmoil after media reports that pitchers drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.
“You guys know it all, already. I don’t have to add anything,” Ortiz told reporters Thursday night after receiving baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award at the World Series. “I’m there every day, but I do what I’ve got to do. I have no more comment on that. You guys know it all.”
Boston was nine games ahead of Tampa Bay at the start of play on Sept. 4, then lost 18 of its last 24 games to finished one game behind the Rays in the AL wild-card race.
Ortiz, eligible for free agency after the World Series, hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs. He said given the turmoil, it’s too early to start talking contract with the Red Sox.
“Of course, I would like to come back,” he said. “They have a lot of things going on right now. So once they go through all the stuff, GM and managing things, I think they’re going to start talking to the players. So, we’ll see. We’ve got time.”
The Boston Globe reported this month that Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey regularly drank beer in the clubhouse on days they weren’t pitching; the pitchers denied a report by WHDH-TV that they also drank beer in the dugout during games. Francona did say he was unhappy that some players weren’t in the dugout during games to support their teammates.
Ortiz said too much was being made of an ESPN interview earlier this month during which he said he would consider playing for the rival New York Yankees.
“I never said that I would sign with the Yankees. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he said. “They asked me if I would play for the Yankees. I said I would think about it. But I didn’t confirm to nobody that I would play for the Yankees. I’m still a Red Sox, aren’t I?”
Ortiz is the second straight Red Sox player to win Clemente award, which was announced before Game 2. On the field before the game, he hugged Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, the 2008 Clemente winner.
After watching a video on Pujols’ charity work early this season, Ortiz called Pujols.
“He was going through some tough times, and we were talking for a while. And at the end of the conversation, I told him, ‘Hey, I don’t care if you hit .100 this year. To me you are a great human being because everything that you do for people,”’ Pujols said.
“So on my way here, I was looking at the list and I saw my boy Pujols, and I said, did I beat Pujols?” Oritz said.
The Clemente award is given annually to a major league player who gives back through community service and also excels on the field. Clemente was a Hall of Fame right fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while trying to deliver food and relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits.
“I think when it comes down to something like this, it can get a little disconnected with everything that happened with us during the season,” Ortiz said. “I think a lot of people in New England are happy about seeing things like this, and they’re going to be motivated to help the foundation.”