Red Sox’s Ortiz near one-year extension

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is interviewed before the game between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday.
Jerome Miron | USA Today Sports
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is interviewed before the game between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday.
Posted March 21, 2014, at 6:53 p.m.

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is nearing a one-year contract extension for 2015 worth about $15 million, according to multiple reports.

“We’re trying. We’ve been trying the last couple days,” Red Sox president Larry Lucchino told ESPNBoston.com.

Ortiz acknowledged that contract talks have gone well. He said during the offseason he wanted to add another year to his contract, which pays him $15 million this year.

Ortiz is just 2-for-32 in spring training games heading into Friday but he is coming off a 2013 World Series in which he batted.688.

Last year, Ortiz hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI.

The Red Sox were in Clearwater, Fla., where their left-handed ace, Jon Lester, battled against Phillies’ ace lefty Cliff Lee as the two teams settled for a 2-2 tie after 10 innings at Bright House Field.

Lester shut out the Phillies for 5 ⅔ innings as he walked one and struck out five while giving up five hits. His spring ERA is now 0.71.

Lee blanked the Red Sox for five innings until A.J. Pierzynski reached him for a two-out double to left in the sixth inning. Lee gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out six in six innings.

The Phillies scored two runs in the eighth to tie the game with Tony Gwynn Jr. hitting a solo home run and Clete Thomas adding an RBI single.

Right-handed pitcher John Lackey will start for the Red Sox against the Braves at 1:05 p.m.

SOX NOTES: David Ross will play more often than the usual backup catcher, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell, who values the veteran’s ability to frame pitches, call a game and communicate well with pitchers. Over the past five seasons, Ross leads the majors with a 3.29 catcher’s ERA, and last October, he took over as the starter, supplanting Jarrod Saltalamacchia midway through the World Series. Still, barring injury, it is unlikely Ross will find his name in the lineup more than a few times a week, especially with primary C A.J. Pierzynski having played more games behind the plate than any active major league catcher (1,678). Ross understands his role, having spent most of his career playing second fiddle. “I’ve been a backup before,” Ross said. “I know how to give way to the starter. That’s what I signed up for. The question of how much (playing time) is enough is a tough question for the backup. The more you play, the more comfortable you get, but if you’re not going well, getting a break can be helpful. It can play both ways.”

 

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