* David Ortiz says he didn't think Jose Bautista did anything wrong before his ejection last Sunday. The Boston slugger's reasoning? 'We want to make the umpiring better.' That and more in Bob Elliott's notebook. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
David Ortiz woke Wednesday morning in pain.
Just like Monday and Tuesday.
The Boston Red Sox DH went down in a heap on Sunday at Fenway Park when he fouled a Joe Beimel pitch off his right foot.
“It was an 88 MPH fastball when he threw it, and it was over 100 MPH when it hit my foot,” said Ortiz. “I’ve had a few of these, but man this one stung.”
Ortiz missed both Monday and Tuesday’s game due to a right foot contusion and now he woke up Wednesday to a headache.
“I turn on the TV and these guys are ripping my friend Jose Bautista for getting kicked out of Sunday’s game, how the team needs him, how Jose is the bad guy,” said Ortiz before batting practice. “I know Jose Bautista. He was defending himself. This was out of his control.”
But couldn’t he have walked away?
“People need to understand, as much as they want to see Jose in right field and as much as they want to see him hit, Jose was protecting himself,” said Ortiz, tapping his bat on the Rogers Centre carpet.
“I watched the highlight. I didn’t see Jose give the home plate ump any crap. It didn’t look like he was screaming at him, or that he showed him up.”
Ortiz said he has been thrown out before arguing strike calls with umpire and reasoned: “We want to make the umpiring better.”
The DH returned to the Boston lineup Wednesday to face Marcus Stroman, who has Bautista behind him in right.
Bautista hit his 26th homer of the season to deep left-centre facing Joe Kelly in the first, while Ortiz singled off Stroman to tie the score in the sixth. Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer as the Jays survived with a 5-2 win.
Ortiz woke up in Tampa Bay on Thursday ... headache free and where no one was on TV or radio knocking his pal.
500 Level: Mike Napoli’s drive into the nether regions Wednesday brought to mind the first one ever hit there.
“Most ballparks don’t even have 500 Levels,” we remember the late Jim Hunt saying, er screaming at the top of his lungs as Oakland A’s bash brother Jose Canseco took lefty Mike Flanagan 480 feet to left in the third inning for a 3-0 lead in Game 4 of the 1989 American League Championship Series as the A’s won 6-5.
That Oct. 7 blast was majestic and the first to land there since the SkyDome opened that June. Few of the 50,076 on hand knew Canseco had help.
Napoli’s 452 foot moon shot down the left field line was the 17th into the 500 level. Canseco has three, one with the 1998 Jays -- still the most wins Toronto fans have seen since 1993 -- off Boston’s Bret Saberhagen and the next year with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when he homered off Graeme Lloyd.
A memorable 500 Level bomb for me was the first of Josh Phelps’s two. He hit the first off New York Yankee Roger Clemens in 2002. Walking through the clubhouse -- those were different times -- Phelps asked no one in particular, “who’s pitching tonight?”
“Clemens,” said another player. “Hey last time in, didn’t you ...?”
Phelps nodded with a knowing smile.
“Stay loose kiddo,” I said.
First time up, Clemens knocked Phelps down.
Two years later, Phelps hit another off Ruben Mateo of Seattle.
The longest ever was Manny Ramirez 491 feet to left off Chris Carpenter in 2001. Mark McGwire, who hit the second-ever long bomb almost seven years later, Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, Raul Mondesi, Gary Sheffield, Vernon Wells, Jayson Werth, Shelley Duncan and Edwin Encarnacion were the others.
He was a scout for the New York Yankees last year after not being retained when Farrell went to Boston. Wakamatsu was caught in the middle -- he didn’t go to Boston along with former Jays coaches Brian Butterfield (third base) and Tory Lovullo (bench) and John Gibbons didn’t hire him on his staff.
This year Wakamatsu is headed for post-season play as Nedly Yost’s bench coach with the Kansas City Royals, who lead the American League Central and are about to end a 28-year post-season drought. If the Royals make it, Your Toronto Blue Jays will have the longest run ... 21 years.
Tats are us: Steve Medeiros, major domo of the press room lounge at the Rogers Centr,e keeping it stocked with fajitas and Diet Coke, is back walking normally. He had a tattoo portrait of manager Cito Gaston standing in the dugout wearing No. 43 inked into his right calf. He also has Robbie Alomar’s signature pose after his 1992 postseason homer off Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley, president Paul Beeston smoking a cigar, singer Bob Marley and portraits of his wife and his daughter.