Lucchino comes to Ortiz's defense after sickness


While David Ortiz's exit before Sunday's Red Sox-Yankees series finale raised plenty of eyebrows among the media and some fans, nobody inside the organization thought twice about it.

By now you've heard: Ortiz came down with a cold on Saturday night, and according to John Farrell was told by team doctors on Sunday that he couldn't play and he should go home.

That led to wondering just how sick Ortiz really was, or if had more to do with him not wanting to play first base for the Red Sox.

Was there more to this behind the scenes?

Red Sox president and CEO joined WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show on Thursday to discuss the reaction to Ortiz missing the game.

“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," Lucchino 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.”

Ortiz has played first base at Fenway Park twice this year, due to the struggles of Mike Napoli at the plate. Ortiz would have played it again on the Sunday that he missed. Prior to Sunday, he responded to a question on if he wanted to play first base more regularly by saying, "Hell no." The answer was followed by a laugh, but that's all some people needed to say Ortiz wasn't a team-first guy.

“He said he didn’t want to play first with great regularity," Lucchino said. "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.”

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