David Ortiz rips MLB for punishing Brandon Workman but not David Price

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CLEVELAND — For the most part, the Red Sox took the high road in regard to the news that pitcher Brandon Workman was suspended for six games for his actions in last Friday’s showdown with Tampa Bay — and the corresponding lack of discipline taken toward the Rays’ David Price.

Manager John Farrell maintained a diplomatic tact, saying the Red Sox had presented their side of the confrontation and have to deal with the fallout. Workman, who is appealing the suspension and will pitch as scheduled Wednesday, continued to maintain that he wasn’t throwing at Evan Longoria.

But David Ortiz showed no such restraint.

“[The Rays] started everything and we’ve got to pay for it, basically,” fumed Ortiz, hit in the back in the first inning by Price, who went unpunished. “That’s the message I’m getting. I don’t have any answer for it. But like I say, man, there’s way too much evidence now that he hit me on purpose and the funny thing is we’re the ones getting fines and suspensions, all that kind of stuff.

“I guess the rules are not for everyone.”

And while Workman continued to insist that the ball slipped when he threw up and behind Longoria several innings later, Ortiz was more direct about his teammate’s motivation.

“He was supposed to back up his teammate — that’s what he did,” said Ortiz. “I don’t want to see nobody getting hit or hurt. But to be honest with you, nobody planned Workman going out there and trying to hit Longoria, which he missed. But at least he sent a message — you hit my players, I hit yours.”

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Ortiz still isn’t buying Price’s original assertion that he was trying to establish his fastball inside when he drilled Ortiz in the back in the first inning.

“Bro, the guy gave out 8 walks in 80 innings,” said Ortiz. “You know what you’re doing out there. In my case, when he hit me, I was a little confused. As the game went by, I started seeing things different. That’s why I was so angry after the game. I think MLB should [review] this and come up with the real deal because I don’t think what they’re doing is fair.

“I think the rules should for everybody. We didn’t start this up. I didn’t hurt nobody. Workman wasn’t hitting anybody in the first inning. They did.”

At first, Ortiz didn’t believe Price had intentionally hit him, since the Red Sox slugger recalled two conversations he had in the aftermath of Game 2 of the ALDS last October. Price was initially miffed that Ortiz stood and admired the second of his two homers and voiced his displeasure in a phone call.

But Price later called back and apologized and then repeated his apology publicly in Tampa following the day. Ortiz thought the issue was long resolved.

“That’s why I was [first] thinking, ‘Did he really do that on purpose?’ ” said Ortiz. “But like I say, I don’t care about we he did or does from this point on. What I care about is MLB looking at the case from the point where I didn’t start this up. Workman didn’t start this up. Price did.

“I thought the rule was for everybody. I thought the minute you figure that someone hit somebody on purpose, it says right there you’ve got to follow up [with discipline]. In this case, it seems like they didn’t.”

Ortiz also added this warning: “In my case, I’ve made my point clear. I’m not going to get hit again. Not by him. I’m not going to get hit again by him. He did it on purpose. He punked me and that was very disrespectful. I’m a grown-ass man and I’ve been around the league for a long time and I know how to take care of business of my own.”

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.