David Ortiz

David Ortiz, and not Mike Napoli, gets Opening Day start at first base

John Tomase
April 05, 2015 - 12:23 pm

PHILADELPHIA -- David Ortiz, and not Mike Napoli, will open the Red Sox season at first base on Monday against the Phillies. Manager John Farrell said it wasn't an easy decision after Napoli's monster spring (.400-6-11-1.342). "Well, one of the disadvantages that we have is that coming into a National League ballpark, we're built as an American League club, and two of our primary power hitters occupy that same position -- first base," Farrell said on Sunday. "Mike has had a very, very good spring trainng. He's certainly available to us. It's not like we're absent of him completely. But both guys will play a significant role in this series." With left-hander Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies, there had been some thought that Napoli would get the start. But Ortiz is a franchise icon, and those generally don't get benched on Opening Day, even if they hit just .222 this spring. Ortiz, it should be noted, is 0 for 3 a strikeout against Hamels, while Napoli is 0 for 2 with a pair of punchouts. Ortiz didn't see any action at first base this spring, but it's not like he's new to the position. He has played 268 games there, including five last year, during which he hit .158 (3 for 19) with a homer and five RBIs.