|(Photo by: Matt West)|
Who would have thought that a baseball player would not want to play in the field?
This week the Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz played first base for the second time in a week span.
It had one wondering how he might feel as a designated hitter having to spend time and energy scooping balls out of the dirt for the rest of the infield?
When Ortiz was asked the question by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal if he wanted to play first base, he thundered, "Hell, no, I'm too old for that, man! I like my focus on hitting."
Of course the 39 year old DH is not paid $16 million dollars this year to take a beating at first base. It is also doubtful that any performance bonuses include being the first ever player to not record a putout at that position in a game.
With David Ortiz making a rare start at 1B, the Red Sox pulled off something never before seen in their 115 years: pic.twitter.com/8qQD6vPIuK— ESPN (@espn) July 6, 2015
With the continued struggles of Mike Napoli at first base, it has been a creative solution with Ortiz at first.
Manager John Farrell has quietly moved lacking left fielder Hanley Ramirez into the DH spot, opening up room for hot hitting and rangy Alejandro De Aza to play out in left field.
De Aza is a defensive upgrade by taking the place of Ramirez. He has also hit .317 with a .364 on-base percentage and a .610 slugging percentage since he joined the Red Sox, and he’s also an elite corner outfielder.
But putting Big Papi at first base is not sustainable if the Red Sox want to keep their current 39 year old DH healthy.
He has not played more than 10 games at first base since 2006 and has had enough injury problems the last few years without any defensive workload. This is most likely the reason that for the last two games Ortiz played at first base were followed with scheduled off days.
Imagine he needed to deal with the aches and pains of playing the field instead of just managing the swing mechanics of a DH?
Again, with the offense clicking lately it's not that big of a leap to see the manager using this lineup more. It gives the Red Sox an answer for the weakness that has been their first baseman in the lineup.
With Napoli failing to provide a potent bat at the first base position, slugging just .372 since the All-Star break last year, he barely fills the shoes of a second baseman.
Ortiz remains clear on this subject, "We've got a first baseman, that's not my role."
The Red Sox have a hole to fill if they want to keep pushing for that magical 90 wins to take them into the postseason, but where will they find a potent bat to fill this hole?
Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.
More by Eric D. Schabell