Larry Lucchino

Larry Lucchino on D&C: 'It's ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz's integrity and commitment to this team'

Ryan Hannable
July 16, 2015 - 6:15 am
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the Red Sox at the All-Star break, specifically David Ortiz. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Ortiz missed Sunday's game prior to the All-Star break due to "upper respiratory" symptoms. Much was made of the designated hitter missing the game because it was a day he was likely to play first base, something he was on record saying he wasn't in favor of doing with regularity. Lucchino wasn't pleased with what has been discussed in the media this week regarding the situation. "I think it's tempest in a teapot. I think it's ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz's integrity and commitment to this team," he said. "He's not only earned that respect over the years, he's also a team leader. I think it's ludicrous for the sports media to jump to those negative conclusions." "He said he didn't want to play first with great regularity," he added. "He didn't say not that he didn't want to, not that he didn't think his body would hold up if that were required -- he did go out there for a couple of games at first base when we needed him." Lucchino said team doctors instructed Ortiz not to stay at the park for the game. "He's got a problem that has the potential of contaminating the clubhouse. The last thing you want him to do is potentially affect other players with what could be a contagious issue," he said. "I'll leave that to the team doctors to make that judgement." The Red Sox are currently 6 1/2 games back in the American League East and have the third-worst record in the American League. Lucchino said the team is still waiting to see if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. "I think it's too soon to know what is going to happen at that point," Lucchino said. "I am one to believe that there is a third alternative and that is you don't have to be a major seller or a major buyer. You can be someone who goes out and does something to help your team not just this year, but in future years. I think we're not throwing up any white flags by any means. We are going to go down to the trading deadline and see what we can do." "We aren't at that point know where we are prepared to make that judgment," he added of what they will be. "Again, if you look at the way the team has performed over the last month or six weeks, I wonder if we'd be having a slightly different conversation if we won the last game on Sunday. We'd be 4 1/2 instead of 6 1/2. It's one game and I think that the decision will depend on where we stand a week or so before the trade deadline. We want to compete every year. We're 6 1/2 back now, we were 6 or 6 1/2 back at the break in 2004. I'm not predicting the same kind of miraculous season, but I am saying we have been in this position before." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox. On disappointment of first half of season: "Yes, I am. I am a bit disappointed. We showed flashes of what he hoped for in the last month or so. The team has been playing awfully well going back a month or so. It's been more like the team we expected to have. Things happen. No one in the front office is going to get it right 100 percent of the time and you're going to have unexpected things occur during the course of the season. On balance, we expected to be closer than 6 1/2 games at this point." On Hanley Ramirez and Ortiz: "I think we have seen real offensive production from each of those guys, particularly David in the last month or so and throughout the season, except for the month of May, which was a pretty down period for him. I think there's enormous offensive talent in that group and there's got to be a way to use them both during the course of a winning, productive season." On possible mistakes past offseason: "It's too soon to say that, I really believe that. I think it's too early to put a definitive conclusion on this season. We're at the half way point, half way, and I think we have to wait and see how it goes." On Ramirez's spot on team: "Hanley had never been a DH of course before coming to the American League. We didn't anticipate we were getting a second DH, maybe down the road, after David's career is over. That's one thing. We believe Hanley Ramirez can play in the field."

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