David Ortiz, on playing defense for interleague games in NL parks:
I just feel so embarrassed when I do something wrong out there.
You’ve got a guy pitching his ass off out there and you just feel bad.
Nothing happened, but you feel like, “What the hell am I doing?” The
tough one is when you have to throw to the pitcher, because pitchers,
you know, they’re really not good fielders.
My mentality when I’m out there is like, “I’m a Gold Glover.” I was
pretty good at defense until I got humongous. I got to the big leagues
and I gained like 30 pounds, and we had [Doug] Mientkiewicz over there,
and he was a Gold Glover. Then I got here and we had like 20 first
basemen. Next thing I know I was DH-ing, and that’s it. People always
make a big deal about first basemen, but most of ’em stink, anyway.
They just hit.
Ortiz always struck me as a reasonably capable first baseman during his
time in Minnesota–surprisingly nimble, good at scooping low
throws–but as he notes that was quite a few pounds ago. Ultimate Zone
Rating pegs him as 1.9 runs below average over 880 innings at first
base since arriving in Boston in 2003, which is certainly far from
disastrous (although his recent UZR numbers are dreadful).
As for the above quote, he’s spot-on about everything except for gaining 30 pounds. I’ll take the over on that.