05/12/09 11:25 PM ET
Friends offer support for homerless Papi
Howard, Delgado among those encouraging Sox slugger
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Though it still hasn't, Ortiz had a noticeable bounce to his step before Tuesday's game against the Angels. It turns out a lot of Ortiz's friends were watching that game Sunday night and they did their best to pep him up via text messages or phone calls.
"Actually, I got everybody trying to get me going," Ortiz said. "During Sunday's game, I received, like, I would say 50 to 70 messages, text messages, from everybody around the league. Ryan Howard. Carlos Delgado. Alex Cora. Everybody."
And the general message?
"They were just telling me, you know how good you are and how good you can be," Ortiz said, paraphrasing his friends. "Things aren't always going to be flowers and roses. We learn from our mistakes and what doesn't break you makes you stronger. So don't listen to any of the [stuff] that people have to say. You've done a whole bunch of things to get it done and you're going to get it done again."
In his final at-bat on Sunday, Ortiz hit a double off the Green Monster to help set up Jason Bay's game-winning double.
That said, Ortiz admits that he can't help but be consumed by the fact that he didn't hit a home run in the first 32 games of the season.
"Every day, every day," said Ortiz. "Sleeping. Eating. Having breakfast ... it's bad."
Yet Ortiz still manages to keep things in perspective.
"I'll just keep on working," Ortiz said. "It's still early. I'd like to do it from the very beginning, but I know things are going to get better. Of course, it doesn't feel right. I'm a home run hitter. That's one thing I'm not thinking about. Home runs are going to come."
Ortiz has been in the lineup for every game, remaining in the No. 3 spot on the lineup.
"It's easy to be his coach or manager when he's banging 40, 50 home runs," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Now, the important time is when it's not going just perfect to either remind him or show him or be there for him. I think that's what we're supposed to do."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.