Ortiz opens up on Manny's suspension
Red Sox slugger admits to being 'shocked' and 'confused'
ANAHEIM -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was so floored by the news last week that his friend and former teammate Manny Ramirez had been suspended 50 games for use of a banned substance that he barely spoke about it initially, other than a few non-descript sentences.
But before Tuesday's game against the Angels, Big Papi spoke in-depth about the issue for the first time, expanding on his level of surprise and confusion.
"This news has shocked me, because I remember when Manny was here, the trainer would give him Tylenol because he was sore or something and he would throw it in the garbage," Ortiz said. "He wouldn't take it."
For 5 1/2 seasons, Ortiz and Ramirez spent countless hours together, taking round after round of batting practice tormenting opposing pitchers in unison. The suspension to Ramirez felt like a bit of a gut punch to Ortiz.
"It confused me, it confused me," Ortiz sad. "But that's something I don't really want to talk about it. It made me feel confused for a minute."
Ortiz thinks that Ramirez should clear up the ambiguity by speaking to the public, something the left fielder has not done -- other than a written statement -- since the suspension.
"Seeing this news here, he needs to speak out and let people know what's up, so people understand," Ortiz said. "Because that's another thing that gets people confused. He hasn't said showed up anywhere talking or saying anything."
All Ortiz has to go by is his personal history with Ramirez.
"That guy, he worked hard every day, and it's going to be something crazy and hard to deal with [for Ramirez]," said Ortiz. "Hopefully, he knows what's up, and he'll learn from his mistake, do the right thing. Because it's already 1-0 [against Ramirez]."
Ortiz, who said he hasn't spoken with Ramirez since last year, had a bemused look on his face when asked if he tried to reach out to his friend since the suspension started.
"It's hard, man," Ortiz said. "You can't even reach out to Manny when Manny was here. You think I'm kidding, but I'm serious. Who knows. He always changes [phone] numbers. When we were here playing together, I would be like, 'OK, let's meet at the lobby at noon to have lunch and go to field.' Next thing you know, I'd be calling his phone, his room, and you can't reach him. And this was after you just talked to him an hour ago."
Does Ortiz think that Ramirez's prior accomplishment will now be tainted?
"I'm going to leave that up to you guys [in the media]," Ortiz said. "Hopefully not because one thing I know about Manny is that he's a hard worker. He's a guy that gets prepared to play the game. One thing people should not forget about is since these supplements got banned, we get tested every year tons of times."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.