Red Sox' Ortiz watches his two-run home run with Yankees' Cervelli during their MLB American League baseball game in Boston

David Ortiz wins Clemente Award, says he’d like to return to Red Sox

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David Ortiz, who will be a free agent this winter, said last week that he was open to joining the New York Yankees next season.

On Thursday, while speaking to reporters in St. Louis after winning the Roberto Clemente Award, Ortiz clarified those comments about free agency. The upshot? People made too much about what he said about the Yankees, and he would actually like to return to Boston once the Theo Epstein mess is sorted out and the team finds a new manager.

“Of course, I would like to come back,” he said. “They have a lot of things going on right now. So once they go through all the stuff, GM and managing things, I think they’re going to start talking to the players. So, we’ll see. We’ve got time.”

And what about the Yankees?

“I never said that I would sign with the Yankees. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he said. “They asked me if I would play for the Yankees. I said I would think about it. But I didn’t confirm to nobody that I would play for the Yankees. I’m still a Red Sox, aren’t I?”

Ortiz is right, of course. All he said was that he would have to think about going to New York if the Yankees showed interest, which seems like a perfectly reasonable way to approach free agency. That being said, he shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction given the nature of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

So there you have it. To sum up: David Ortiz would consider being a Yankee, but would like to stay in Boston. Also, he didn’t say it, but I’m guessing he would play in Seattle or Kansas City if the money was right. OK well, really right.

Now, back to the World Series …

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President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.