In comments published Monday, Ortiz
said the Red Sox's free-fall from the AL playoff race should not affect his MVP candidacy with voters, and compared his own performance to Jeter, whose MVP stock rose as the Yankees took command of the AL East. New York led Boston by 10½ games on Tuesday.
"Don't get me wrong -- he's a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup," Ortiz said of Jeter. "Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."
To that, Jeter replied "I don't have to do it in his lineup."
"I'm not thinking about the MVP right now," he told reporters Monday. "We're thinking about winning a division. We've still got something to play for."
He then added, "No one here's focused on individual awards."
Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said
Ortiz's comments didn't sound like the Big Papi he played with for three seasons in Boston.
"It doesn't sound like Ortiz," Damon told reporters. "I can't believe he would say something like that."
Damon said he thought Ortiz was a "shoo-in" for MVP last season, but lost out to Alex Rodriguez last year because being a DH hurt him with the voters.