Ortiz shows off some pop in loss to Orioles
Slugger responds to display of confidence by Francona
BALTIMORE -- David Ortiz had already been pinch-hit for twice this season by manager Terry Francona. So even though he had gone deep in the second inning on Saturday night, perhaps it crept into his mind that he might be pulled in the eighth inning, when Orioles lefty Alberto Castillo was on the hill.
This time, however, as Ortiz stepped out of the dugout, he received some words of encouragement from Francona.
"When I was walking out of the dugout, Tito told me, 'Come on, let's go.' That's good," said Ortiz following Boston's 12-9 loss to the Orioles.
Ortiz responded to the vote of confidence by unloading his second homer of the night, a 401-foot blast to right.
"As a player and a hitter, that's all you want to hear from your coach," said Ortiz.
For the second consecutive year, an extended slump by Ortiz has been an early-season story. The designated hitter is hitting .167, with three homers and six RBIs. In 60 at-bats, he has 22 strikeouts.
For one night, though, he had some reward for all the extra batting practice.
"It's a lot of work, man," he said. "I've been working. It's a long season, you know? I didn't give in yet. I've been working with [hitting coach Dave] Magadan a lot in the cage and in batting practice. We'll figure things out."
Ortiz will try to build off his two-homer night on Sunday, when the Red Sox face right-hander Kevin Millwood.
"He really put some pretty good swings on today," said catcher Victor Martinez. "He got pretty good results. It's good momentum."
Schoeneweis rediscovers love for game
BALTIMORE -- Scott Schoeneweis was in the clubhouse on Saturday, yet the player who'd had a locker right next to his only a day earlier was gone. With Daisuke Matsuzaka activated so he could pitch Saturday's game, the Red Sox needed to make a roster spot available, and Alan Embree, who has the same veteran lefty reliever pedigree as Schoeneweis, was the odd man out.
Both were late signees by the Red Sox during Spring Training. But Schoeneweis had the advantage of spending the first portion of Spring Training with the Brewers, while Embree was home in Oregon when the Sox called. In the end, that was probably the difference.
"I know that my time here has been a tenuous thing," Schoeneweis said. "I feel like I've mixed in pretty well and done what's been asked of me. Obviously, you grow to be a part of a team and get to know guys and stuff, and I obviously didn't want it to end. I am kind of happy to be here ... At least until the next move needs to be made, I can stay here.
"Like I said, when this all started, I set out to do something, and I feel like I accomplished that, just coming back and showing that I can play and still get people out. Whatever happens outside of that is beyond my control."
What pleased Schoeneweis the most about surviving this cut is that his children are scheduled to fly to Boston from Arizona next week.
"It's my son's birthday," he said. "I was trying to figure out [what to say if I got released]. You get them kind of geared up ... I had them geared up to go to Milwaukee, had them geared up to come to the Red Sox and come live in Boston and stuff, and to keep changing, that's what I worry about. Not me, I could care less. That was a conversation I didn't want to have to have."
The last year has been difficult for the family, as Schoeneweis' wife died suddenly last May. Though last season was a complete loss for him, he has rediscovered his love for baseball.
"I really do believe in myself and my ability," he said. "I know what I'm capable of doing, just by the way I feel ... in comparison to how I've felt the last few years and how I feel now, especially mentally. I just know that I like to be here, I really like this team and, obviously, the market and a chance to be a championship team is a huge deal."
Schoeneweis and Embree had a nice conversation in the clubhouse after the latter was informed of his release late Friday night, even sharing a hug.
"Us left-handed old specialists, we run in to each other so often, we kind of respect each other for what we've done," said Schoeneweis. "It's just a shame that the both of us were on the same team. We were joking around -- you've got to spread the love a little bit. We shouldn't be competing for the same job. Just as I would be, he was totally professional. It's not a personal thing. It's one of those things. There's only one spot."
Hermida gives sore left quad a rest
BALTIMORE -- The one constant in manager Terry Francona's lineup while outfielders Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury are on the disabled list is that Jeremy Hermida always starts against right-handers. But that was not the case on Saturday night against Orioles righty Brad Bergesen, and there was a reason. Hermida has been experiencing some tightness in his left quad.
"I've just got some tightness and stiffness in there," said Hermida. "It's nothing too bad. Better to be cautious and take a day or two and be easy with it rather than going out there and doing something worse to it."
With Kevin Millwood pitching for the Orioles on Sunday, the Red Sox would love to have Hermida back in there, but it all depends on how he progresses.
Darnell McDonald made the start in left field and Jonathan Van Every got the nod in center. On Friday, McDonald started in center.
"We thought about that a little bit. I think Mac has done a pretty good job in center tracking balls. He's had good routes," Francona said. "I think he's doing a pretty good job. I just think Van Every, his strength is probably defensively in center field. In games where we've made changes and put Van Every in left, it's only because Darnell's been out there in center all game."
Francona's words proved prophetic in the bottom of the third inning, when Van Every -- who hit his first homer of the season in the top of the frame -- laid out and made a great catch to rob Adam Jones of a hit.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.