UPDATE: Talk about great timing. Ortiz just slugged his first home run of the season to the “Monster Seats” in center field.
7:11 PM: Prior to Friday’s game against the Orioles, David Ortiz told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he was embarrassed when Mike Lowell pinch-hit for him against left-hander Darren Oliver on Tuesday:
“It was just embarrassing, getting pinch-hit for,” Ortiz said. “I
understand. I’m not swinging the bat good, with a lefty and whatever.
I’ve got to come through and do my thing and get that out of people’s
heads. When I’m swinging the bat good that’s not going to happen.
Basically it was a wake-up call to say, ‘You better start hitting or
you’re going to get pinch-hit for.'”
Or benched altogether. Francona started Lowell over Ortiz on Wednesday and Thursday as the Red Sox faced consecutive left-handers. With right-hander Jeremy Guthrie on the mound on Friday, the .146 hitting Ortiz is back in the starting lineup, batting sixth.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.