Big Papi's swagger draws Girardi's ire
Skipper takes issue with bat flip; slugger brushes comments aside
NEW YORK -- David Ortiz had gotten his pitch and mauled it to deep right. Then, he got caught up in the moment. The big slugger flipped his bat emphatically to the side and did a bit of a pirouette, before savoring his trot around the bases.
His two-run blast in the fifth put the Red Sox five runs ahead of the Yankees in what wound up a 6-4 victory.
After the Yankees' loss, manager Joe Girardi made it clear that he was not a fan of Ortiz's bat flip.
"I didn't really care for it," New York's manager said. "I don't know if he was upset that he missed some pitches earlier. I've got a young kid [in Hector Noesi] on the mound. I didn't know if he was upset that he came in hard on him. Of course, when it happens to you, you're going to defend your guy. If it's our guy, I'm going to say there was nothing intentional about it."
But that perhaps questionable act was very much a symbol of the swagger the slugger is feeling these days. Almost as if he's in a 2004-06 time warp, Ortiz is wrecking the baseball like a vintage Big Papi.
"Yeah, that was one of the Papi good ones," Ortiz said of his majestic blast.
Ortiz said that the inside pitch Noesi threw him on the pitch before had nothing to do with his emotion after the blast.
"That's Papi style," said Ortiz. "You saw that before."
Could he expand at all on the emotion he was feeling?
"I just went deep," Ortiz said. "You want more emotion than that? I just went deep. It's another homer for Papi. You know what I'm saying?"
But it was relayed to him that Girardi didn't much like it.
"I don't know," said Ortiz. "I mean, it's not my first time, it's not going to be my last one, you know what I'm saying? Big deal. I'm a home run hitter. That's all I can tell you right now. I've done it before. It's not like I do it all the time. It's part of the excitement. What can I tell you?"
What Ortiz's bat is telling you is that the man is in a red-hot groove. The next couple of days in New York are supposed to be mid-90s toasty, which was enough to make Ortiz's eyes light up.
"As hot as the weather is getting, that's how hot Papi gets," said Ortiz, who was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday.
Ortiz is hitting .324, with 14 homers and 32 RBIs and an OPS of .992.
"He's hitting the ball to left field for the most part, especially against left-handers," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He's staying on the ball. He's swinging at strikes. Back in '04-06 when he really had the awesome numbers, he was banging the ball to left-center field. He's doing that again. With two strikes, he's shortening up. He's not striking out. You throw him that ball in and he turns on it. He's been big for us."
And if Ortiz flips another bat or two along the way, Girardi will probably live with it because of his respect for the slugger.
"David has always played the game hard," Girardi said. "I've never had a problem with David Ortiz. This guy has been a clutch player for a long time. My reaction is probably more to protect our young kid. That's what I'm going to do."