Big Papi: 'Don't care who hits who'

LOS ANGELES -- An irritated David Ortiz complained Friday that his published comments about Ryan Dempster hitting New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez created an unintended fuss, saying that he and the Red Sox pitcher are not at odds over the issue.

"I don't give a flying f--- what anybody thinks," Ortiz said. "I don't care who hits who and who doesn't."

Ortiz reiterated his objection to Dempster's throwing at Rodriguez was because "it kind of woke them up."

"Did I lie about that?" he said. "I think that's what everybody saw."

Ortiz said he had not spoken with Dempster since Thursday's story in USA TODAY Sports, in which the Red Sox slugger was quoted as saying he did not agree with Dempster's hitting Rodriguez with a pitch.

"I didn't like it. I don't think it was the right thing to do,'' Ortiz was quoted as saying. "But we don't all think alike, and the guy who did it, Dempster, is a great guy. It's not that I didn't think it was right because Alex and I are friends, because once you cross the white lines, everyone's on their own.

"But we've got Tampa right on our heels, and that pitch woke up a monster in the Yankees' team at that moment. You saw how the game ended up. CC [Sabathia] was throwing 91 (mph) and started throwing 96. Alex later hit one way out there. You're talking about a good team that you can't wake up. But we learn from our mistakes.''

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Ortiz had spoken with Dempster on Sunday night, after the Yankees came back to beat the Red Sox 9-6 in a game in which Dempster hit Rodriguez with a 3-0 pitch on his first at-bat of the game in the second inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected and both benches warned; Dempster was subsequently suspended five games by Major League Baseball and is serving that penalty.

The Yankees went home after Sunday night's game and swept a four-game series from the Toronto Blue Jays and started a three-game series with AL East rival Tampa Bay on Friday night.

Ortiz said, "Not really," when asked if he'd spoken with Dempster since publication of the story. Dempster worked out at Dodger Stadium on Friday but left early because of his suspended status. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen Tuesday.

"He understands," Ortiz said. "It's nothing against him or anybody else. He knows I respect everybody."

Farrell downplayed the potential of any fallout from Ortiz's remarks.

"I don't think the comments David made would have any lingering effect on the clubhouse," Farrell said. "I do know Ryan and David spoke Sunday night, and I think more than anything David's comments were coming from the standpoint of not trying to give added incentive to an opponent, regardless of who the opponent is at the time, and just maintain our approach of trying to win a ballgame on a given day.

"I think what we saw inside that game, that was maybe some added motivation for the Yankees. In the end, they swung the bats very well and we didn't respond."

Ortiz was back in the lineup at first base Friday after making an early departure in Wednesday's 12-1 win over the Giants in San Francisco with some lower back tightness.

"I'll be out there, throwing some leather," he said when asked how he felt.

Farrell said Ortiz was feeling much better after undergoing treatment on Thursday, an off day. He would not predict whether Ortiz would start at first base more than once this weekend.