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David Ortiz downplays contract talk

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox slugger David Ortiz believes he could soon come to an agreement with the team on a contract extension, a notion principal owner John Henry agreed with.

“I think we’re going to be fine. That’s all I have to say right now on the contract thing,” Ortiz said on Wednesday. “I think we’re going to be OK.”

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Ortiz said “conversations are good” with the Sox as spring training gets started.

“I think they’re trying to get this out of the way so it won’t be a distraction,” he said. “My goal right now is pretty much to try and win another championship. That’s all that matters to me right now. The contract situation thing is going to be taken care of at some point. I don’t really know, hopefully pretty soon.”

Ortiz’s agent, Fernando Cuza, has been at Red Sox camp for two days. Henry arrived on Wednesday.

David Ortiz was in a happy place Wednesday, heading to the practice field past some young and old autograph seekers.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

David Ortiz was in a happy place Wednesday, heading to the practice field past some young and old autograph seekers.

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“It’s conceivable. It’s something that we’ll talk about. We’ll definitely meet with him,” said Henry, who also owns the Boston Globe. “He’s meant so much to this franchise, to New England, for so long now. He has helped carry us to three world championships.

“I know where he’s coming from. He wants to finish his career here and we should try to make that happen. I don’t know that it will get done. But I think it’s good to have the conversation at the beginning of spring training. We’re all here. The sooner it gets resolved one way or another, the better it is for everyone.”

Ortiz is seeking a one-year extension that would take him through the end of the 2015 season. He said he can’t envision himself playing for another team, but that it could happen.

“Hopefully not,” he said. “Hopefully that’s not the case. I like it here. I love the fans here. I love what I do here. My job is not only to hit a baseball. I do a lot of things that I’m comfortable with and a lot of people care about that. I think I’m doing OK as long as I’ve been here.”

Ortiz, 38, was asked how long he planned to keep playing.

“I don’t know. I’m having fun. I’m having fun and things are going well,” he said. “I’m super happy to be here. I’m glad to wear this uniform. The fans know that I’m more than proud of performing in front of them. I try my best.”

Then he wondered why the question was being asked.

“What am I doing so bad that people want me to retire? Can anybody give me an answer to that?” he said.

Ortiz hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs last season.

He had a .959 OPS, the seventh highest of his 17-year career. Ortiz capped the season by being named Most Valuable Player of the World Series.

Ortiz said playing out the year on his present contract would not be a distraction.

“If it doesn’t get done, I’ve got to come in and get my job done like I normally do,” he said. “Whatever happens, it’s going to happen. I still have to come in and perform and do what I do . . . I never shut it down. I have played on a one-year deal. It’s not new to me.”

The biggest problem Ortiz has is with some segments of the Boston media that have been critical of him seeking an extension.

“As long as I’ve been in this organization, I don’t think I have disrespected no one. I think I’ve been honest. I think I’ve been legit,” he said. “I’ve been one of the greatest that ever wore this uniform, too. Some people like to forget about it. I don’t like to talk about that. I don’t like to sound like that. But you’ve got to let them know.

“I think it’s very disrespectful for someone out there to be saying that I’m greedy, that all I want to talk about is contract. When am I going to talk about contract, when I retire? . . . It’s now that I’m playing.”

Ortiz was particularly critical of radio talk show hosts who “talk trash” about him.

“Before you do that, you need to know who you’re going to talk about,” he said. “Haters, man, haters. People hate. That’s the world that we live in today. People hate. They are not comfortable with you doing well. That’s it. That’s the way I see it.”

Ortiz acknowledged the chatter gives him an edge.

“Actually, it does. That part of it motivates me. Come in and kick [expletive],” he said. “I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m hungrier than ever right now. To me, what we did last year don’t matter. I want to get another one now. Prove people wrong my whole career. And then at the end of the season I’ll just laugh at my house.”

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.
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