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David Ortiz goes to bat against ESPN report

Angry DH rips media scrutiny

David Ortiz is having one of the best seasons of his career and is sure to be an All-Star again. But he’s not having fun, and the media is to blame.

It’s even to a point, the designated hitter said, where he is unsure about returning next season.

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It’s all the result of an ESPN report earlier this week that claimed a “toxic’’ atmosphere surrounded the Red Sox. Ortiz’s PG-13 response Thursday was a pointed one.

“It seems every day there is something new about players,’’ he said before the game. “People need to leave us alone and let us play ball. It’s becoming the [expletive] hole it used to be.

“Look around, bro. Playing here used to be so much fun. Now every day it’s something new not related with baseball. People need to leave us alone, man. Play ball and do what we know how to do.’’

Ortiz said the ESPN report was “horrible’’ and he was tired of the “drama’’ surrounding the team.

“This is baseball, man,’’ he said. “It seems like everything that goes on around here is like one of those Congress decisions that will affect the whole nation. It ain’t like that, man. This is baseball. We’re supposed to have fun, performing out there at the highest level.

“But every day is something new. Some drama, some more [expletive]. Tired of that, man. I’m here to play baseball, man.’’

Does Ortiz want to return next season?

“I don’t know,’’ he said. “I’ll think about it.’’

That thinking may be a bit rash given that Ortiz is making a career-best $14.575 million this season and the Red Sox are one of the few teams still willing to use a traditional DH instead of more versatile and economical players.

Ortiz is good for a few such rants every season. Part of his anger Thursday may have stemmed from a television reporter prodding him about having a one-year contract.

“Hopefully this is my last, man, my last year trying to prove people wrong,’’ he said.

Manager Bobby Valentine agreed with Ortiz that Boston can sometimes be a difficult place to play. But good players, he said, find a way to deal with it.

“It’s tough,’’ Valentine said. “David handles it as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. Might have caught him on a bad day today.’’

Ortiz went 0 for 3 with a walk in Thursday’s 6-5 victory over the Marlins.

Bailey at work

Andrew Bailey, out all season recovering from surgery on his right thumb, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen Wednesday and will be back on the mound Friday.

“First time off a mound in a couple of months, just kind of taking it easy,’’ Bailey said. “Working on mechanics and getting the arm ready right now.’’

Bailey, who was set to be the closer, is basically in a spring training mode. He will go from bullpen sessions to throwing batting practice and then minor league games.

Bailey said his thumb has fully recovered. He tore a ligament when he collided with a runner while covering first base during a spring training game and had surgery just before the season.

Valentine predicted Bailey would need eight or nine innings of work before being ready for the majors.

Crawford on deck

Carl Crawford, who also has been out all season, is tentatively scheduled to play in a Gulf Coast League game Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla. He would DH to begin, then work his way into playing left field. Crawford is recovering from left wrist surgery and a partially torn ligament in his left elbow . . . Jacoby Ellsbury spent an hour on the field before the game, a workout session that included six minutes of batting practice thrown by hitting coach Dave Magadan . . . The Sox will host an equipment collection drive Friday through Sunday. Fans are invited to drop off new and used baseball and softball equipment outside all gates. The equipment will benefit Kids Gear for Baseball, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit. Fans who donate will have a chance to win autographed memorabilia . . . Jim Murray of 98.5 The Sports Hub handled public address duties for the game.

Pedroia back at it

Dustin Pedroia, who didn’t play Wednesday after jarring his sore right thumb, was back in the lineup and went 0 for 5 . . . The Marlins, who got a pregame pep talk from owner Jeffrey Loria, have lost four straight and 13 of 15. The Sox are 5-1 against the Marlins, outscoring them, 41-22 . . . Scott Atchison, who threw two scoreless innings to get the win, has a 1.17 ERA on the season, 0.68 in his last 11 appearances . . . The Red Sox are 24-15 since Daniel Nava was called up May 10. He has hit .340 with a .974 OPS. Nava is 13 of 36 (.361) in nine games as the leadoff hitter . . . Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, a native of Falmouth, was thrilled to spend three days at Fenway Park. He also turned 26 Monday. “I feel lucky to be able to come back up here,’’ he said. “With my birthday and all that, it worked out perfectly.’’ Cishek has pitched well for the Marlins, making 45 appearances as a rookie last season and posting a 2.63 ERA. He has a 2.45 ERA in 30 games this season. Growing up on the Cape, Cishek was a Red Sox fan. “I wasn’t like a diehard,’’ he said. “If the Red Sox lose, it’s not going to ruin my day, but I was obviously a big fan.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe. Globe correspondent Alex Prewitt contributed to this report.

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