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David Ortiz leaves game with back tightness

After striking out twice and grounding to first, Ortiz called it a day.Beck Diefenbach/REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO — By the fifth inning on Wednesday, David Ortiz had enough, and headed to the clubhouse for a dunk in the cold tub.

Officially, the Red Sox said Ortiz came out of the game with lower-back tightness. Manager John Farrell called it “general soreness.” Whatever the definition was, Big Papi needed a break.

Ortiz played first base for eight innings on Monday night, that after boarding a cross-country flight in Boston that morning. He started at first base again on Wednesday.

After striking out twice and grounding to first, Ortiz called it a day. That the Red Sox were leading, 6-1, at the time made it easy for Farrell to take Ortiz out of the game.


“Two out of three days on his feet at first base, not accustomed to it,” the manager said. “With the lead we had, got him off his feet to protect it.”

Ortiz didn’t seem too concerned.

“It started grabbing me a little bit my first at-bat and I was trying to fight through it. It’s not anything bad,” he said. “It’s just a little tight and we were winning.”

Ortiz was sore when he got off the plane on Monday and doesn’t know if swinging a bat or playing first base contributed to his soreness.

The schedule also has played a role in Ortiz’s soreness. The team is close to the end of a stretch of playing 16 of 19 games on the road in three time zones.

The Red Sox have two interleague road games in Colorado Sept. 24-25. Ortiz may need to play first base then, too.

“I’m telling you. I don’t know who did this schedule. Probably a Yankees fan,” Ortiz said.

Farrell was planning to start Ortiz at first base in two of the weekend games against the Dodgers. With a day off on Thursday, that still could be the case. “We’ll see where he’s at. We certainly have to factor it in and he’ll be a big part of that as we make those decisions,” Farrell said.


Said Ortiz: “I think I’ll be fine. I’m not really concerned about it.”

Break for Dempster

Major League Baseball suspended Ryan Dempster for five games for intentionally throwing at Alex Rodriguez on Sunday. He’s eligible to return on Tuesday, but the Red Sox have pushed the righthander back to Aug. 30 against Chicago.

It will be an 11-day break for Dempster. He will throw a simulated game in Los Angeles on Friday to stay sharp.

“I don’t think the additional days [off] at this point of the year will cause him to get out of a routine or affect the overall command,” Farrell said.

Matchups also played a role.

The Sox would rather have Dempster (6-9, 4.77 earned run average) face the struggling White Sox instead of the Orioles earlier in the week.

Buchholz easing in

Clay Buchholz is scheduled for a bullpen session in Los Angeles on Friday. He will then join Lowell for a game in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on Sunday against Hudson Valley.

Triple A Pawtucket is home that day. But the Red Sox prefer Buchholz to face Rookie League hitters in what would be his first game since June 8.

“Progressive step,” Farrell said.

The Sox want Buchholz to throw 45-55 pitches on Sunday, and the low-level competition should allow that to happen without incident.


National treasures

The Red Sox are a major league-best 11-4 in interleague games this season, outscoring National League teams, 95-36. Jacoby Ellsbury has hit safely in 18 consecutive interleague games (34 for 77, .442) dating to last season . . . Jarrod Saltalamacchia has hit safely in nine consecutive games at 13 of 36. The streak matches his career high . . . The Giants were 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position in the series and scored four runs . . . Shane Victorino is 11 for his last 22 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs. He’s up to .290 on the season.

Here for Jonny

It was “Jonny Gomes Day” in his hometown of Petaluma, about an hour north of San Francisco. “With Jonny Gomes, you either love him or you love him,” Petaluma mayor David Glass told Petaluma Patch. The mayor and a busload of Gomes fans had seats along the left-field line. Gomes was 1 for 3 with a walk and two RBIs . . . Mike Napoli was out of the starting lineup for the fifth consecutive game. The first baseman is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The Red Sox also gave Ortiz two starts at first base in the Giants series. Napoli has had only three plate appearances in the last five games. The Sox are hoping the time off will cure Napoli of his foot issue . . . Lars Anderson, once considered an elite Red Sox prospect, visited with some former teammates and coaches before the game. Anderson, a Bay Area native, was released by the White Sox last month. The first baseman has hit .167 in 30 major league games over three seasons and .194 in Triple A this season with two home runs in 227 at-bats . . . Red Sox principal owner John Henry is expected to join the team in Los Angeles on Friday . . . San Francisco has had 229 consecutive sellouts, the longest active streak in the majors . . . Major League Baseball is offering two free umpire camps this weekend, the first on Saturday in Bristol, Conn., at Muzzy Field, and then on Sunday at Roberto Clemente Field in the Back Bay. Each camp will serve as a tryout for interested participants to advance to the annual MLB Umpire Camp in Compton, Calif., in November. Go to for information.


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