Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said Wednesday that a Boston Globe column questioning whether his strong start to the season has been aided by performance-enhancing drugs is ethnically discriminatory.
"What is the point of criticizing someone who is working hard and trying to do it right?" Ortiz said in an interview in Spanish in the Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday, reacting to the column by Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe.
The column casts Ortiz as suspect of cheating because he's hitting well at his age (37), has suffered an injury (Achilles tendon) consistent with steroid use and is from the Dominican Republic, where a number of players have tested positive for PEDs.
"Yesterday, the guy came to see me and asked some questions about steroids, and when you see the writing, it basically focuses on the fact that I'm Dominican and that many Dominicans have been caught using steroids. And what about the Americans?" Ortiz said.
"If you're from the Middle East, because there are some people there who put bombs and terrorize civilians, I have to see you like that, as well? If you are a white American, I have to call you a racist because white Americans were in the Ku Klux Klan?
"The thing that stung me was his statement about Dominicans. You mean that in Dominican Republic there are no players who try to do things right? We are all in the same boat. And the people here who have been caught, does that put everyone here in the same boat?"
Ortiz shared his thoughts in a recorded conversation for the "Grandes en los Deportes" ("Big in Sports") talk show on an ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate in the Dominican Republic.
"I have spent many years in Boston and still do not know the right way to do things: Do it right or do it wrong," Ortiz said. "If you do it wrong, they'll finish you. If you're doing well, they'll finish you, too. There's no area where you feel safe."
Ortiz, who said he is a "big, firm believer" in Major League Baseball's drug-testing program, told ESPN's Pedro Gomez on Wednesday that he was tested for PEDs on Tuesday night. Ortiz also told the Globe he has been tested "probably" five times this season.
Ortiz told Gomez he never has entertained the idea of using PEDs.
"This is a stage in my career that it's never crossed my mind ... to get involved with anything related to PEDs," Ortiz said.
Ortiz has been linked to PEDs in the past.
The New York Times reported in 2009 that he tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 season. Ortiz later said a combination of then-legal supplements and vitamins likely caused a positive test.
"I've had a couple of bad Aprils and they have tried to bring me to the point of suicide, but the seasons have continued, and I got better and finished with good numbers, but they have continued talking about the bad Aprils. Now I'm having a good April and they attack me anyhow," Ortiz told the radio show.
Ortiz had his 27-game hitting streak snapped in Wednesday's loss to the Twins, going 0-for-5, but still entered Thursday with a .381 average with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 16 games. The torrid start came after he missed the team's first 15 games with the Achilles injury, which also sidelined him for most of the second half of last year.
After the Red Sox' 15-8 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday, Ortiz wrote in his Twitter account: "The end of my hitting streak, but the season continues. Hopefully Dan Shaughnessy is a happy man now. No more .426, enjoy it."
"[Shaughnessy] thinks that because I'm 37, I go to the plate without a bat," Ortiz said. "I work a lot. I spend many hours before the game to prepare. I take on early practices, I watch videos, exercise. He should talk about that, about the routine I have for every game."
Information from ESPNDeportes.com's Mario Fraticelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.