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David Ortiz on bench vs. Orioles with Hanley Ramirez at DH

BALTIMORE -- A subdued David Ortiz briefly discussed his absence from the Boston Red Sox lineup Wednesday, with manager John Farrell electing to use a sore-kneed Hanley Ramirez at designated hitter against Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.

This is the second time in five games that Farrell has benched Ortiz against a left-hander. Friday night in Boston, Ortiz sat against Oakland lefty Scott Kazmir, with Ramirez serving as DH.

"Some things you have to ask the manager," Ortiz said without rancor about three hours before Wednesday's game. "I'm not the manager. I'm a player, and I do what the manager tells me to do."

Is it a good thing for him to sit against a lefty?

"I don't know," he said. "We'll see."

Farrell said that after Tuesday night's 1-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he informed Ortiz that he would not be playing. Ortiz's struggles against left-handers are well-documented; he is 8-for-70 against lefties this season, which includes a called third strike against Orioles closer Zach Britton with two runners on in the eighth inning Tuesday night.

"Left-hander on the mound, and for the time being we're trying to get David going against lefties," Farrell said. "When you look at what he's doing against righties, it's exactly the same he did a year ago, when he was probably 20 percent of our entire offense, and yet we're trying to get him back on track against lefties."

Farrell acknowledged that it can be delicate business to tell a player of Ortiz's stature that he's sitting.

"I can respect his career path," Farrell said, "and when he gets everyday at-bats it's probably easier to deal with. But David is a pro and he understands there's some work to be done."

Ortiz had success against Chen last season, with six hits in 11 at-bats, and Farrell acknowledged that gave him pause about leaving Ortiz on the bench.

But he is 0-for-5 against Chen this season, and at the moment is mired in a funk against both lefties and righties, batting just .169 in his past 17 games, without a home run in that span. That is already the second time this season Ortiz has gone 17 games without going deep.

Ortiz was asked about his at-bats of late. With a half-smile, he said, "Swing hard in case you hit something."