Ortiz: Only problem is with 'haters'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz said he hopes his contract situation can be resolved "pretty soon," a scenario that could materialize, given that his agent, Fernando Cuza, is here and Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry arrived in camp Wednesday and indicated a willingness to talk.

"Conversations are good,'' Ortiz said. "My bosses are more than happy to talk about what we're talking about. I think they're trying to get this out of the way so it doesn't begin to be a distraction.

"My goal right now is to win another championship. That's all that matters to me right now. The contract situation will be taken care of. When, I don't know. Pretty soon."

Shortly after Ortiz made those comments, Henry said he wouldn't count out reaching an extension soon.

"It's conceivable," Henry said. "It's something we'll talk about. We'll definitely meet with him. He's meant so much to this franchise, to New England for so long now and he's helped carry us to three world championships. I know where he's coming from. He wants to finish his career here and we should try to make that happen."

Ortiz signed a two-year extension for $26 million last winter, the value increasing to $30 million when he was able to stay off the disabled list for fewer than 20 days, kicking in an additional $4 million performance clause. He is due to be paid $15 million this year, the second highest-salary to Mike Napoli, who signed a two-year, $32 million deal as a free agent last December.

The 38-year-old Ortiz said he would like the club to tack on another year at similar dollars. His agent, Cuza, said he had conversations with the club on the topic in December, though GM Ben Cherington has maintained throughout the winter that there had been no negotiations.

"I don't know if it will get done, but I think it's good to have the conversation at the beginning of spring training," Henry said. "We're all here and I think the sooner it's resolved, one way or another, the better it is for everyone."

Ortiz, who was the World Series MVP last season after batting .688 with two home runs and has won three World Series rings with the team, more than any other player, said he comes into camp "hungrier than ever.''

Ortiz, who turned 38 last November, was asked how long he intended to play.

"I hear that question asked all the time,'' he said. "I have a question for everyone: What am I doing so bad that people want me to retire? Can anyone give me an answer to that?''

Ortiz, who at one point said he was "one of the greatest players ever to wear this uniform," said he can't understand the "haters" who criticize him for talking about an extension.

"I'm having fun, things are going well,'' he said. "When things are going well is the time for you to agree on things and ask for whatever you want. It all depends on the other part of it [the team].

"My problem is not the Red Sox. My problem is not the fans. I'm super happy to be here. I'm glad to wear this uniform. The fans know that I'm more than proud of performing in front of them. I try my best every time I go out there in front of them. It's just a couple of haters out there, flipping things around.''

After Ortiz's news conference, there was a verbal confrontation in the Red Sox clubhouse between Ortiz and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who called the designated hitter "selfish" for talking about his contract a year before it expired in a story that ran in late January.