First homer lifts big weight off Big Papi
Ending dinger drought improves Ortiz's state of mind
BOSTON -- For the first time in a while, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz came to work with some positive momentum to build on.
Finally, there were no questions to answer about the home run drought or the sinking confidence.
One homer -- which Ortiz hit on Wednesday -- does not automatically mean resurgence. But it clearly improved Ortiz's frame of mind.
"I feel good, man," said Ortiz, whose homerless drought ended at 148 at-bats. "Let's keep it that way."
Ortiz didn't feel like elaborating on his mechanics. He is trying to keep a clear head so that Wednesday's results will carry over.
"See the ball and hit it," Ortiz said. "Got to keep it simple. I've been trying so many different things, nothing worked, so I'm going to keep it simple."
What wasn't working? Ortiz smiled when that question was posed to him.
"If I tell you, I won't finish," Ortiz said. "Way too much. Good things, though. Part of the game. Just things I work on."
With hitting coach Dave Magadan out for the night to attend the graduation of one of his children, Red Sox manager Terry Francona spoke a little about the work Ortiz has been doing in the cage.
"You know what, it's been a work in progress, obviously," Francona said. "I think the biggest thing is -- with any hitter -- if you can get their feet to not run away and be quick. We've seen [Jason Varitek] do it. Then all of a sudden, your head starts moving. Then there's a time you're leaning over. If you can slow everything down and let the ball come to you and not go get it -- that's maybe a simplified version.
"You want to have bat speed without having to try to generate. That's been ongoing, and it's probably been something different [the next time]. He slows one thing down, and doesn't have success. All of a sudden something else happens, and he was getting bent over. You could see him trying so hard to swing hard and not get bat speed. It happened in his second at-bat last night. He's looking fastball in, and then they throw him a breaking ball and there's nothing there. Then all of a sudden, next couple of times, he hits the ball a long way. It's hard. If you could push a button, we'd do it."
Perhaps all Ortiz needed was some verification that some of his hard work would be rewarded.
"That happens all the time," said Ortiz. "One swing gets you going."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.