04/03/11 12:55 AM ET
Ortiz now all-time leader in RBIs for DHs
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
And Boston's big slugger also made some history in the Red Sox's 12-5 loss to the Rangers on Saturday night. By producing RBI No. 1,004 as a designated hitter, Ortiz passed Edgar Martinez as the all-time leader at that position.
"Well, that's something when they mention your name with the caliber of Edgar Martinez and those guys, it makes you feel good," Ortiz said. "I've put a lot of hard work together. Those things, I don't think about it right now while I'm playing. One day, I'll sit down and look at it. Right now, I'll focus on trying to win the game and keep on rolling that way."
Ortiz tied Martinez when he clubbed a two-run homer to right in the top of the second.
By hitting two home runs in the first two games, Ortiz already topped his April total of a year ago, when he went deep just once. In 2009, Ortiz didn't homer for the first time until May 20.
"You play the game and things happen," Ortiz said. "Like I say, it's not like I tried to start the season slow [the last two years]. Things happen and you just try to get ready for the season and turn the page. I think I know I call attention because of the kind of player I've been as long as I've been here. People expect me to do well. Sometimes things don't work out the way you expect and you just have to keep on fighting."
In April of 2009-10, Ortiz hit an aggregate .196 with one homer and 15 RBIs.
"That's good because I think it will help him relax," manager Terry Francona said of Ortiz's fast start this season. "I know how much he was pointing towards April. Let him get his legs under him and hopefully he'll whack a few more."
Young not worried about Lester's outing
ARLINGTON -- A day after the second no-strikeout game of Jon Lester's career, his new pitching coach suggested there was little reason that Red Sox followers should be concerned about the ace left-hander.
Many of Lester's fastballs were in the low 90s instead of the mid 90s, but that might have been a matter of a slower radar gun.
"I think the [velocity] actually was, on the board, down a little bit," said pitching coach Curt Young. "Jon is used to striking people out. He's feeling good and healthy. That opening game is always kind of magnified a little bit, but he'll get himself in a nice routine and get himself going."
After striking out 225 batters in each of the last two seasons, why were punchouts non-existent for Lester against Texas?
"There was a lot of early hacking going on, a lot of early action," Young said.
What did Lester think of the life on his fastball?
"I thought it was all right," Lester said after Friday's game. "I had a pretty good two seamer. For whatever reason, we couldn't get many swings and misses. That's really the whole pitching staff. I don't know what their approach was, but we didn't get a whole lot of swings and misses. For the most part, we got a lot of weak hit ground balls, some weak fly balls other than the home runs, so I don't really know."
Lester, who took a no-decision while giving up five runs over 5 1/3 innings, gave up three home runs in a game for the first time in his career.
"He's a guy that's so good at getting ahead and finishing people, and he's not used to giving up home runs -- I know [that] for a fact," said Young. "You look at the quality of pitches, and the locations really weren't that bad. If you continue to do that and make quality pitches, then all the good things happen."
Young said that he hasn't spoken much with Lester about his history of slow starts. The lefty is 3-6 with a 4.95 ERA over his career in regular-season games pitched in March or April.
"I just know he was feeling good coming out of Spring Training," Young said. "That's the main thing. Like I say, just get him on a good routine and he'll get right back where he should be."
Lester next takes the ball on Thursday afternoon in Cleveland vs. the Indians.
Ellsbury strong out of gate for Red Sox
ARLINGTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury never thought it would take time to get his timing back, even after missing 144 games last season with an injury. While that viewpoint might have seemed optimistic, Ellsbury proved it to be realistic.
First, he had a strong Spring Training. And then on Friday's Opening Day, he went 2-for-4 and stole a base.
"I put a lot of work in [during the winter], but everybody comes in the same in Spring Training," Ellsbury said. "I knew it wasn't going to be an issue."
Early in Spring Training, manager Terry Francona said there was at least a possibility Ellsbury would open the regular season at the bottom of the order, simply due to the time he missed last year. But Ellsbury proved over and over again during Spring Training that wasn't necessary, and he opened in his familiar leadoff spot.
"That stuff comes back," Ellsbury said. "Everybody is getting their timing in Spring Training. It wasn't a concern for me. I didn't even think twice about it. I knew I'd be ready to go."
His two hits on Friday came against C.J. Wilson, a lefty who held left-handed hitters to a .144 average last season.
"It was just the first game," said Ellsbury. "You play 162 games. I think everybody is excited to come in again today. I think that's the nice thing about baseball -- you just come in and play again."
And unlike last year, Ellsbury hopes he will get to just keep on playing in 2011.
Francona mulls when to use his bench
ARLINGTON -- Manager Terry Francona always feels a little caught in between at this time of the season. There is one part of him that wants all of his starting position players to get into the "grind" of the season. Then there's the other part that wants the bench players to stay sharp.
With Sunday being a day game after a night game, there's a chance Francona might deploy a reserve or two. Perhaps that is when catcher Jason Varitek will make his 2011 debut.
"I don't know. I've got names all over the place here," Francona said. "We'll see. I've got a lot of either-ors. It goes both ways. You want your guys to get into a rhythm, and you want your [bench] guys to get at-bats. I've got a lot of either-ors."
Perhaps the day game after the night game is offset by the fact that Monday is an off-day.
"Sometimes you try to do the right thing and you maybe need to stay out of the way," Francona said.
Bard unavailable on Saturday vs. Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Taking the loss in perhaps the worst performance of his career on Friday wasn't the only drawback for Daniel Bard. Boston's top setup man threw 32 pitches over just two-thirds of an inning, making him unavailable for Saturday's contest.
While manager Terry Francona used five of his seven relievers on Friday, closer Jonathan Papelbon and Bobby Jenks both did not pitch, leaving them fresh and ready to go for Saturday.
The Red Sox got good performances from newcomers Dan Wheeler and Matt Albers on Opening Day, but lefty setup man Dennys Reyes walked the only batter he faced.
"We tell our bullpen guys, 'Hold runners, pound the strike zone.' But if you're a left on left guy, if that's the only hitter you're facing, yeah, the ability to throw where you want to right now is huge," said Francona. "With a situational guy, when you're bringing him into those situations where the game is on the line, you have to really trust him, because the game can be won or lost right there."