Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has fired back at former manager Bobby Valentine two weeks after Valentine claimed Ortiz missed the latter part of the season not because of his Achilles tendon injury but rather because the Red Sox were out of the playoff hunt.
Speaking to ESPN Deportes, the slugger explained:
“Stopping me (from playing) was the decision of the doctors, management, the manager and me. The team doctor recommended that I stop playing to not make the situation worse for the tendon.
“… As a player, the game runs through my veins. In the 10 years I have played in Boston, I have been the heart and soul of the organization and not a second has gone by in which David Ortiz, able to go on the field to do what he knows best, he stayed seated instead.”
Ortiz missed games from July 18 through late August as he nursed his right Achilles back to health. On August 24, Ortiz returned for one game and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Ortiz was back on the DL by August 27.
Valentine didn’t mince words when he was interviewed on October 23 for Costas Tonight on the NBC Sports Network. Valentine said at the time:
“He realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there.”
Ortiz says of Valentine’s statement:
“No. 1, never bite the hand that feeds you, because in the end that will come back to bite you. I was one of those players that always showed support for him. In fact, I held a couple of player meetings.
“No. 2, the day that I returned from the DL, I told him that I was not sure what percentage health-wise I was in, but that I could not be out there without trying to help. When I told him that, I put my career on the side to help him and the team. Being in an incredible amount of pain, I went out there to support them.
“No. 3, after he went on national TV to say what he said, he sent me a text message trying to tell me that it was the media trying to change things. I did not respond to the message and I said to myself, this guy must have some mental issues or needs medicine or something? I said, I am dealing with someone crazy and I am not going to drive myself crazy, so it is better if I leave it alone.”
Ortiz may have the last laugh; the 37-year-old slugger just signed a new two-year deal worth $14 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014. Ortiz is also set to receive a $1 million signing bonus and various potential performance incentives that could make the deal worth $30 million over two years.