In a rant that was at times profane, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz made it clear on Friday night that he had lost respect for Tampa Bay pitcher David Price.
On Saturday, Price fired back with words that are sure to add to the tensions between the teams.
“For as many people as I, quote-unquote, lost respect from, I gained respect from a lot more. I know that’s a fact,” said Price, who hit Ortiz with a fastball on Friday.
The incident had its roots in Game 2 of the American League Division Series last season. Ortiz hit two home runs off Price and watched the second — which was down the right-field line and nearly foul — for a few seconds before jogging around the bases.
Price yelled at Ortiz at the time and later took to social media to express his displeasure. Price called Ortiz the next day to apologize and the two apparently settled their differences.
Price also spoke to reporters at the time and said his reaction was out of character.
But Price’s contrite behavior was apparently contrived. Price faced Ortiz on Friday for the first time since Game 2 and his first pitch was a 94-mile-per-hour fastball that hit the Sox slugger in the back.
“He apologized to myself and everything was cool. So first at-bat of the season against me he drilled me? I mean, it’s a war. It’s on,” Ortiz said after the game. “Next time he hits me he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.”
On Friday, Price claimed he was simply pitching inside. But a day later he did not mask his intent.
“Nobody’s bigger than the game of baseball. You ask pitchers from 10-15-20 years ago. That’s normal. Part of the game,” he said.
Price, who attended Vanderbilt, also lectured Ortiz, who speaks English as a second language, on his choice of words.
“He was mad, I get it,” Price said. “You say stupid stuff when you’re mad. Been there. I’m sure he probably wishes he didn’t say some of the things he said. You can’t relate the game we play to a war.
“[NFL player] Kellen Winslow got a lot of crap for saying he was a soldier. No, you’re not a soldier. This is not war. We have troops fighting for us that are in a war. It’s not a good comparison.”
Price also dismissed the idea that he would have another conversation with Ortiz to settle things.
“We’ve got nothing to talk about,” he said.
Ortiz did not speak to reporters before the game Saturday night.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was out of the lineup with a badly bruised right hand. He was injured in the second inning Friday diving to catch a throw from catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
X-rays and an MRI taken Saturday showed no structural damage. Pedroia is day to day, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.
“He was available if we needed him late in the game for defense. Fully expect him to start at second base [Sunday],” Farrell said.
The Red Sox optioned outfielder-first baseman Daniel Nava back to Triple A Pawtucket to make room on the roster for righthander Rubby De La Rosa, who sparkled Saturday night.
With the bullpen getting frequent work, Farrell wanted to retain righthander Alex Wilson. He pitched two innings then was optioned to Pawtucket after the game.
The Sox, a team source said, will call up third baseman Garin Cecchini. He may be with the team for only a day with Stephen Drew expected to return from the minors on Monday and join the team in Cleveland. Cecchini is hitting .278 for Pawtucket with one homer and 21 RBIs.
Drew was 0 for 3 with a walk for Pawtucket at Norfolk. He is 1 for 10 in three Triple A games and is scheduled to play for the PawSox again on Sunday.
Brock Holt started at third base for the 14th consecutive game and was 2 for 5 with a home run. Holt is hitting .305 with a .352 on-base percentage but Farrell made it clear that Drew will move right into the lineup.
“We signed Stephen to come in and play shortstop. That hasn’t changed,” he said.
With Xander Bogaerts expected to take over at third, Holt’s role may soon change. The Sox have started having Holt work out at first and the outfield in preparation to becoming a utility player.
“Trying to expand his overall role,” Farrell said. “His play and his contributions merit additional flexibility.”
Nava was 0 for 10 in five games since being recalled on May 24. Farrell has settled on using Jonny Gomes as the everyday left fielder and is content to have Mike Carp at first base until Mike Napoli comes off the disabled list.
“[Gomes] has taken the job. It’s about competition and who’s producing,” Farrell said. “Even though you’d like to put guys in a position to match up, overall Jonny’s taken the job.”
Gomes is hitting a modest .232. But his 23 RBIs are third on the team.
Myers knocked aside
Tampa Bay right fielder Wil Myers has had some misadventures at Fenway Park starting with the fly ball he lost in Game 1 of the ALDS last season. Now Myers is dealing with an injured right wrist after colliding with Desmond Jennings on the final play of Friday night’s game.
He was in a plastic brace before the game and not in the Tampa Bay lineup.
Farrell was ejected shortly after Price hit Ortiz on Friday. In his mind the pitch was clearly intentional and Price should have been ejected.
Farrell thought his position made even more sense after learning that Major League Baseball sent a report to the umpires before the series warning of the bad blood between the teams.
“The operative word is to what extent was there intent viewed by the umpire,” Farrell said. “They were given a heads-up by the league. That would indicate there was already something existing. As much intent that was behind that pitch that hit David Ortiz. You can make the case that the ejection should have happened immediately.”
That plate umpire Dan Bellino warned both teams immediately was another sign to Farrell.
“I think he pretty much felt there was intent behind the pitch,” Farrell said.
Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who turned 33 on Saturday, spent time before the game giving singer/songwriter Jason Isbell a look around Fenway Park. Isbell performed at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion later in the day . . . Felix Doubront, on the DL with a strained left shoulder, is on a schedule of throwing in the bullpen every three days . . . The Sox used four managers Friday. After Farrell was ejected, bench coach Torey Lovullo, third base coach Brian Butterfield, and hitting coach Greg Colbrunn took turns. Lovullo and Butterfield were also ejected during the game. “No one really lasted long enough to figure that out,” Farrell said when asked which of his replacements did the best job.