David Ortiz

Observations from McKechnie Field: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval home run race; Importance of Alexi Ogando

Rob Bradford
March 12, 2015 - 12:24 pm

BRADENTON, Fla. -- History was made Thursday. No, it wasn't David Ortiz hitting a home run. With his three-run shot in the Red Sox' seventh straight spring training win -- a 5-1 victory over the Pirates -- the DH now has 15 official Grapefruit League homers. And while Pablo Sandoval's blast two batters later was his first homer in a Sox uniform, he actually has two more spring round-trippers than Ortiz. The reason to save the ticket stubs? The crowd of 8,445 was the third-largest in the 92-year history of McKechnie Field. So there you go ... In terms of the Red Sox' perspective, however, the reminder regarding Ortiz' and Sandoval's presence was most likely the most notable takeaway. "Those guys are so talented, man," said Ortiz, pointing to around the clubhouse. "And the thing is, if you don'€™t play with them, you won'€™t get to know how much they feel for the game. We play in a spring training game, these guys, you ought to hear them talk during the game. This guy [Hanley Ramirez], Panda, then they get caught into the Pedroia bull[crap] with [Mike Napoli]. All the screaming, I'€™m going crazy because I'€™m speechless in spring training. I can'€™t be talking too much, I waste my energy. I get caught into all that. It'€™s definitely going to be fun with those guys through the season, just going back and forth, challenging each other and it felt good to do well, to get it done." - Clay Buchholz finished his three-inning outing without incident, allowing one first-inning run. The righty was able to escape a potential sticky situation in the initial frame, getting Pedro Alvarez to hit into an inning-ending double play. The Pirates' first-inning run was unearned, with Buchholz having been charged with a throwing error after attempting to pick off Sean Rodriguez. "It'€™s definitely good to have to go through it," said Buchholz of dealing with runners on base, having allowed four hits and a walk to go along with a pair of strike outs. "First inning, minimizing it to one run, getting out of that rather than giving up two or three. It'€™s something that comes with repetition of it and feeling comfortable with it. For the most part it was a good day." - Alexi Ogando turned in his second straight positive outing, pitching a clean four inning. He then got some high praise from his new manager. "It's been very good," Farrell said of the righty. "If we get him to previous levels, or close to previous levels, in terms of arm strengths, production and get him through spring training healthy, it could be one of the keys to our camp. What he means to our bullpen? The ability to attack quality right-handed hitters that our division is going to present. He has a chance to make a huge impact on this team." Highly-touted Eduardo Rodriguez ran into some trouble in the third inning of his outing, being forced to leave with a pair of runners on before Keith Couch came on to induce an inning-ending ground out. Other than the pair of hits in the seventh, Rodriguez impressed, striking out four and not walking a batter. "The thing that stood out for me was on a day he didn't have his best stuff or best command, he continued to pitch," Farrell said. "He didn't let men on base speed things up on him. He showed good poise. He used all three pitches to get key outs and strikeouts with men in scoring position. I was impressed with the poise." - Hanley Ramirez got two more chances in left field, one coming when he camped under an Andrew McCutchen fly ball that resulted in a sacrifice fly. "I've been working a lot. I like it," Ramirez said of his new position. "I feel comfortable in left field. That's the main thing. "I just go out there and play the game and catch fly balls. I don't think about anything. I don't think. Nothing. Effortless. I don't like to think about anything. I'm just ready for it if they hit me fly balls, and that's it." "His athleticism is going to allow him to play that position fine," Farrell said. "More innings, more games, we have no question about his ability out there."