BOSTON -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has slipped into a deep slump, one that caused manager John Farrell to give him back-to-back games off last week. And the whispers are growing louder that this does not represent another slow start for Ortiz, but is instead the onrushing twilight of a great career.
Nearing the end? Ortiz, 39, contemplated that question Tuesday afternoon.
"What can I tell you, man?" Ortiz said. "A lot of people looked at me like that [six] years ago, and here I am still. I don't have no timetable for [retirement]. I don't think anybody has it, either. If it happens, who cares, man, I'm just another player that comes in and comes out. Everybody's time is up at some point. I don't think that's my problem, though. I'll keep on trying like I normally do."
Majority owner John W. Henry fielded a question on the same topic.
"I think everyone in New England was concerned about that in 2009," he said. "That was the main discussion in May 2009. ... To me, at least in the last few games, after taking off a couple of games, he was really driving the ball to the opposite field. To me, that's a big positive step."
Still, he was pressed, was he concerned that Ortiz might be in decline?
"The guy is, he's the best hitter I've seen for the Red Sox for a long time," Henry said. "He's not in his prime and he's not going to hit 50 home runs. But is he going to hit 30? It doesn't look like it this year. Is he getting older? Yes. But I don't think any of us know [when it ends].
"I talked to him yesterday. He's upbeat about his swing. We can talk about David, but we've got nine guys batting every day and we've had some terrible at-bats. Our approach has been suspect.
"But I think we have the right hitting coach, we have the right hitters, I think they'll get it together. We'll see."
Even with three hits in eight at-bats against the Texas Rangers over the weekend, Ortiz began Tuesday batting .224 overall and just .154 (6-for-39) in his previous 10 games.
In Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins, Ortiz lined deep to center field in the first inning, rolled out to first in the fourth, grounded into a double play with two on and no out in the sixth, and grounded a single up the middle in the ninth.