David Ortiz dusted off his glove Monday and took some grounders at first base for the first time since spring training. He will start his first game in the field Wednesday or Thursday in Philadelphia.
With no designated hitter in interleague road games, the Red Sox plan to start Ortiz at first base in one of the games at Citizens Bank Park and Mike Napoli in the other.
“We’ll be able to use it to our advantage as far as a rest day for either guy,” manager John Farrell said.
Ortiz played seven games at first base last season.
With 15 teams in each league now, the number of interleague games for the Sox has climbed from 18 to 20. The Sox have a six-game road trip against the Giants and Dodgers in August and two games at Colorado in September.
“I think it’s a pretty distinct disadvantage,” Farrell said. “Our team isn’t built like a National League team. While we’ve used our bench in certain matchups, we certainly don’t use it to any extent to which a National League team does. That’s not to make an excuse. That’s just to know there’s two different styles of play and teams are built to reflect that style.”
Farrell said one break is that the interleague road games are spread out over the season.
“From that standpoint, the schedule works in our favor,” he said.
Ortiz did not commit any errors in the field last season. While he lacks range, Ortiz does have good hands around the bag.
“The one thing that people may overlook is that he’s a pretty darned good first baseman,” said Farrell, “and we have no issue at all putting him at first base.”