Major League Baseball officials reminded David Ortiz of the need to abide by the game's tampering rules in response to his comments about Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion at the All-Star Game last month, but refrained from levying a fine or any other discipline against the Boston designated hitter, a source said Tuesday.
Ortiz caused a stir at the All-Star Game in San Diego when he suggested the Red Sox should consider Encarnacion as their DH in 2017. Ortiz is retiring at the end of this season, and Encarnacion will be a free agent in November.
"The Red Sox know that they need to reinforce the middle of the lineup,'' Ortiz said during a July 12 news conference. "And sorry Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?''
The MLB Network reported that the commissioner's office sent Ortiz a letter warning him not to violate the game's tampering rules. But baseball stopped short of fining Ortiz for his comments, the source said.
MLB's tampering rule states: "There shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any major or minor league club other than the club with which the player is under contract, or acceptance of terms, or by which the player is reserved or which has the player on its negotiation list."
Shortly after the incident in San Diego, Ortiz told reporters that he did not expect to be punished for his lobbying effort on behalf of Encarnacion.
"Tampering? I don't write no paycheck," Ortiz said after the All-Star break. "I can say whatever I want. I'm not a GM or a team owner or whatever. I mean, if I say tomorrow that I want to play with LeBron James, is that tampering, too?"