Ortiz irked by reminders of slow '09 start

BOSTON -- After going hitless Tuesday for a second straight game to start the season, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz lashed out at reporters when reminded that his struggles last April and May would be a hot topic if he was slow at the start of this season as well.

"Good," he said, turning to face the reporters encircling him. "You guys wait 'til [expletive] happens, then you can talk [expletive]. Two [expletive] games, and already you [expletives] are going crazy.

"What's up with that, man? [Expletive]. [Expletive] 160 games left. That's a [expletive]. One of you [expletives] got to go ahead and hit for me."

Ortiz was handled with ease Sunday night by Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who retired Ortiz on two rollers and an infield fly.

Against right-hander A.J. Burnett Tuesday, Ortiz smoked a ball into the teeth of an overshifted Yankees defense, right at second baseman Robinson Cano, turning a likely hit sans shift into an easy out in Boston's 6-4 loss to New York.

He grounded out again to Cano in the third before going down swinging on a nasty curveball from Burnett to end the fifth. In the eighth, against left-handed reliever Damaso Marte, Ortiz hit a harmless fly to center.

Manager Terry Francona was asked Tuesday night whether he'd given any thought to having Mike Lowell hit for Ortiz against Marte after Kevin Youkilis' leadoff single put the potential tying run on base.

"No," Francona said. "We're two games into the season. I don't think we want to start doing that. That's not because Mikey can't hit. But the big picture needs to be remembered."

Ortiz struggled mightily to start last season, hitting just .185 during April and May with one home run and 18 RBIs.

He turned his season around late, eventually finishing with 28 homers, 99 RBIs and a .238 average.

Ortiz had a hit and an RBI in Boston's extra-inning loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.