David Ortiz has five hits in eight at-bats since returning from an Achilles injury that abruptly shortened his 2012 season. And yet, the Red Sox DH says he still doesn’t feel comfortable at the plate.
Via WEEI’s Annie Maroon:
“I’m battling right now,” Ortiz, who went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the afternoon game against the Royals, said. “I wasn’t facing pitching for eight months, and I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t feel comfortable yet. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been hitting where nobody’s at, but I don’t feel yet the way I like to feel, you know what I’m saying?”
Ryan Howard, another lefty slugger who suffered an Achilles injury, has hit just 15 home runs in 358 plate appearances since returning in July 2012. Ortiz has hit 20 or more home runs in each season dating back to 2002, so it will be interesting to see if he can recapture his power.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.