David Ortiz hitting cleanup in return from disabled list

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The Red Sox have officially activated David Ortiz from the disabled list. The veteran slugger will serve as the designated hitter and bat cleanup in his season debut this afternoon against the Royals at Fenway Park.

Ortiz, who was forced to begin the season on the disabled list due to inflammation in both of his heels, batted .222 (4-for-14) with a home run and four RBI in six rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket. The 37-year-old was originally scheduled to be activated yesterday, but the game was postponed because of the manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Ortiz is a huge part of Boston’s offense, so they have to be pretty thrilled with what they were able to do without him. The Red Sox will enter play this afternoon with the American League’s best record at 11-4. Of course, they’ve done that more on the backs of their pitching than their offense, so Ortiz will be a welcome sight.

Austin Romine gets the start at catcher in ALCS Game 4

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Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.

Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.

The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.

Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.