DETROIT -- David Ortiz says he is planning to return to the Boston Red Sox next season, after a vesting clause in his contract kicked in Saturday night with his 425th plate appearance, guaranteeing a base salary of $11 million in 2016.
That plate appearance came on Ortiz's first at-bat against the Detroit Tigers, when he doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Travis Shaw in the second inning. Ortiz hit his 23rd home run in the sixth and singled home two more runs in the seventh in Boston's 7-6 loss in Comerica Park.
"It means I'm going to be here next year,'' Ortiz said. "Nothing different. When I signed this contract, I think as you're getting older you've got to earn things. Different than just getting away with things when you are younger.
"We agreed on that. I think I earned it, and come back next year.''
Ortiz said he was on board with the way the contract was structured.
"I don't want to put the team on the spot,'' he said. "I don't want to put myself on the spot, either. That's why we agreed to that, and I think it's fair.''
Only 10 position players in Red Sox history have played past their 40th birthday, and only three have played in as many as 100 games past that age: Carl Yastrzemski, who played 446 games; Ted Williams, 216; and Bing Miller, 109.
Ortiz turns 40 on Nov. 18. Through the team's first 111 games, Ortiz has 429 plate appearances, on a pace to finish the season with 626 plate appearances. If he reaches 600 plate appearances, his 2016 salary would match the $16 million he is being paid in 2015.
Ortiz's contract calls for him to be paid $12 million for 475 plate appearances, $13 million for 525, $14 million for 550, and $15 million for 575. There is a similar vesting option for 2017 built into his 2016 contract.
In five of the previous seven seasons, Ortiz has had at least 600 plate appearances. Ortiz leads the team in home runs, RBIs (65) and walks (53).
He is batting .247, raising his average 28 percentage points since June 10, when he was batting .219. Among Red Sox players, only Xander Bogaerts (107 games) has played in more games than Ortiz (101) this season.