BOSTON - While the Red Sox wrapped up their pregame batting practice session and the Phils took over the field, the two lefthanded sluggers from their respective teams spoke behind the cage on Monday. Ryan Howard and David Ortiz talked about hitting.
Yesterday, Ortiz said he and Howard have talked hitting regularly throughout the years, offering each other observations. Ortiz said he had a simple message for Howard on Monday.
"I told him, 'Go up there like you did when you were a kid - just see the ball and hit it,' " Ortiz said. "And what did he do? He got two hits."
Ortiz, 37, has managed to do what the Phillies need out of Howard: production from a power hitter into the latter years of his career. Ortiz is hitting .317 with a .987 OPS since the end of 2010. He is hitting .336 with eight home runs and 34 RBI this season. He doubled in his second at-bat off Tyler Cloyd on Monday night to spark a three-run inning.
Two years ago, Ortiz said Howard told him he was opening up in his swing too early. Perhaps Howard will now heed Ortiz' advice and simplify his approach at the plate.
Howard is hitting .258 with a .722 OPS, six home runs and 25 RBI this season.
Three days before he was scheduled to play against his former teammates, the first of 4 days he circled on his trusty Red Sox pocket schedule, former Phillie Shane Victorino was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
But just as Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz have traveled with the Phils on the team's current road trip, Victorino will be with the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park for the next 2 days. Victorino, who is bringing his family, said he didn't even think about staying behind.
"I definitely wanted to go," Victorino said of making the trip despite being on the DL. "I want to go because I want to see the fans. I want to acknowledge them, show I appreciated playing in Philly for all of those years . . . I enjoyed playing in front of 45,000 [fans] every night, that showed up every night, wind, rain, whatever. That's what's special to me, that's why I really wanted to go."