Papi says AL 'can't wait to kick some you-know-what'

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Boston Red Sox slugger — and newly-crowned Home Run Derby champion David Ortiz held court shortly after taking batting practice today, and had some interesting things to say, including a grand proclamation for tonight’s All-Star game: yet more dominance for the American League.

“Oh definitely (the AL will win),” he said. “No question. It’s on, baby. We’ve got some guys going crazy in the clubhouse, can’t wait to kick some you-know-what.”

Ortiz didn’t seem too scared of NL starter Ubaldo Jimenez, either, but not just because the Red Sox roughed up Jimenez this season.

“Well let me tell you, he’s only going to go two innings right?” he said. “Not too much to worry about. Jimenez, he’s got to be one of the best pitchers in the game, no question. But he’ll pitch his two innings and pack it. Take it to the house.”

I assume, Papi knows that the NL bullpen has some decent pitchers, but we’ll give him a pass simply for sheer entertainment value.

Ortiz also talked about the passing of George Steinbrenner, which has obviously dominated talk here. His own team will hold a moment of silence on Thursday in honor of The Boss, and Ortiz made it clear that Steinbrenner’s impact overshadows any kind of Yankees-Red Sox hatred.

“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Steinbrenner. This is a time where you don’t even worry about the rivalry or who you play for,” he said. “This is a guy who has done a lot for baseball, has done a lot of good things for a lot of people in general. In a situation like this, we need to give a lot of respect to him and his family, and let his family know that we are all thinking about him.”

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Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.