Ortiz: This lineup is dangerous

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The potential lineup for the Boston Red Sox was a hot topic during the winter, especially after the acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

With both of those players, along with Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury, likely hitting at the top of the order for the Red Sox, that means designated hitter David Ortiz could move down a few spots.

The slugger has spent the majority of his career in the No. 3 hole. In 711 games (3,232 plate appearances), Ortiz has posted a .291 average with 190 homers and 612 RBIs. Most of those at-bats he was protected with the presence of Manny Ramirez in the cleanup spot.

After Ramirez was sent packing in 2008 via a three-team trade, Ortiz was outspoken about needing another big bat in the Sox lineup.

Now, Ortiz says he’s comfortable with the current state of the batting order.

“People always ask me about if [pitchers] are going to be thinking about me when it comes to facing the Red Sox,” said Ortiz. “Pitchers think about everyone else, they just don’t think about Papi. They know what Papi is capable of doing, but they think about everyone because everybody is pretty much dangerous in our lineup.”

When Ortiz is penciled into the fifth spot, he has a .283 career average with 66 homers and 227 RBIs in 336 games (1,382 PAs). He has hit in the sixth spot in 108 games and has a .264 average with 19 homers and 57 RBIs. He’s hit seventh in only 36 games (112 PAs) and posted a .315 average with five homers and 25 RBIs.

“This thing has been good the last few years, even not having Manny,” Ortiz said. “We have guys who have taken their game to another level. Guys like Youk, Beltre last year and Pedroia. Those are guys people think about big time when it comes to facing the Red Sox. Now with CC and Gonzo, this team just got even more dangerous.”