BOSTON -- Sure, David Ortiz has heard of the hoary, cliché-that-never-dies Ponce de Leon. “That (expletive) from Spain,’’ he said Tuesday night.
OK, so maybe he was a bit sketchy on some of the details.
“Fountain of Youth?’’ he said. “They say it keep you young, right? I don’t feel any younger, to be honest with you.’’ [Big laugh]
No? He sure is playing like it. The 36-year-old Red Sox DH comes into Wednesday afternoon’s game against Toronto with 20 home runs, the last two coming Monday night against the Jays. Tuesday night, he had two Wall-ball doubles. He is one of six players in the AL with at least 20 home runs this season; he is four behind co-leaders Jose Bautista of the Jays and Josh Hamilton of the Rangers.
It took him 73 games to reach 20 homers, the second fewest of his career. He needed just 67 games in 2006, when he hit a club-record 54 home runs. He is on pace to hit 44 this season; no Sox player his age or older has hit more than the 38 Ted Williams hit in 1958, when he was 38.
“I don’t want to hit 40 home runs,’’ he said.
What, he wants 50 again?
“No, then you [expletives] will be asking for that every year,’’ he said, laughing again. “Then you hit 30, and it’s ‘Oh [expletive], you had a bad year.’ Yeah, right.’’
Ortiz reminded that he isn’t the only senior citizen having a good year.
“I’m doing what I normally do,’’ he said. “It’s not like my first time doing this. It’s like Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko. They’re doing what they know how. You get to the point, you put your experience in play. Experience in this game means a lot. You live through it. You got to keep on working, bro, that’s it.
“I’m not a guy who just started hitting, right?''