Struggling Ortiz says he'll 'be back'

BOSTON -- David Ortiz's vision has checked out very well as the Boston Red Sox try to help him out of his season-long slump.

The designated hitter received drops for dry eyes Monday, team spokesperson Pam Ganley said. Ortiz has two homers and 22 RBIs with a .197 batting average in 51 games. He has been dropped from the third to the sixth spot in the lineup, but has hit better recently.

He has a six-game hitting streak with seven hits in 25 at-bats, raising his average from .185.

The Red Sox also said center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is day to day after tests showed no structural damage in his right shoulder. He was hurt when he slid into second base in the third inning of Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers and left the game after five innings.

Ortiz says no one should be writing him off but he acknowledged in an interview with USA Today that his struggles are literally keeping him up at night.

"My body is resting every night," Ortiz said this weekend, "but my mind is spinning with all of this [stuff]. It's hard to sleep. This is hard. I've never been through something like this. But when you get older, and have a bad year, you never know what can happen. A lot of times, they don't let you come back."

The 33-year-old Ortiz said recently that he doesn't believe his slump has anything to do with his eyes, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona said recently that the team just wants to put the issue "to bed."

What Ortiz can't seem to overcome two-plus months into the season is poor performance that includes a .308 slugging percentage and .288 on-base percentage.

"People keep writing and saying all this [stuff]," he told USA Today. "They say I can't hit no more. That I'm done. What, I have one arm now? I'm not 45. I never struggled like this, but I'll be back. Then what are they going to say?"

Despite Ortiz's struggles, the Red Sox are nine games above .500 and sit only a half-game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East through Sunday's games (Boston hosts New York for a three-game series beginning Tuesday). Ortiz said it's a credit partly to the man who hits in front of him, left fielder Jason Bay, who leads the team in home runs (16) and RBIs (55).

"If he's not doing what he's doing right now, we'd be losing more games," Ortiz told USA Today. "And when we lose, you know where the blame goes. It goes on me. But this guy [Bay], he's got no fear. He might be the biggest reason I haven't fallen apart."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.