Slumping slugger David Ortiz will not play again until the Red Sox return to Boston on Tuesday in the hopes that a mental break helps him escape the worst slump of his career.***
Terry Francona says Ortiz's time out of the lineup may last for rest of the weekend:
Maybe I was too late in doing this. I hope not. I just think he needs a deep breath. ... if there's a time to step back and take a deep breath, it will help us in the long run. [How long will he be out?] We'll see. It might go a couple [days].That would put Flo back in the lineup at home on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
Mike Lowell knows what it's like to be written off as a hitter:
I don't buy the bat speed [argument]. I don't buy the Manny deal. I just think maybe he's not seeing the ball and that triggers other things. I think he just needs a day where he squares the ball up three or four times, and it just snowballs from there. ...This hit chart for 2009 shows only five of Ortiz's 27 hits pulled into right field.
When he's back in the lineup, he should treat it like the season starts that day. If he goes 0-for-4, that's fine. People go 0-for-4 on Opening Day all the time. Just take it like that. If you stare at the numbers, you'll never win.
During the winter, Julio Lugo looked at videos tapes of himself with Tampa Bay and with the Red Sox. He found that his stance had changed dramatically. As the Globe notes:
In the Rays video, Lugo stood with his back straight, his head upright, and his eyes pointed toward the pitcher. In the Sox video, Lugo hunched over the plate, his head cocked to one side, one eye hidden and one eye squinting at the mound. The change occurred gradually and by accident.Secret Weapon*:
I can put better swings on the ball instead of just jabbing at it. I can drive the ball. I'm not a power hitter, but I can drive the ball, get the ball through the infield. That, I've always been able to do.Lugo is currently batting .326 and slugging .457 (5th best on the team).
John Smoltz celebrated his 42nd birthday on Friday by pitching two simulated innings (which actually worked out to roughly nine or 10 outs). ... Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for Pawtucket last night: 5-3-2-1-9 (70 pitches, 48 strikes). All of the hits and runs came in the first inning. In three rehab starts, Matsuzaka has allowd two runs in 11.2. He will join the team in Boston on Monday.