“When you come out of the box, you’re thinking about what the guy is trying to do,” Ortiz said in reaction to the rule, which states the batter must have at least one foot in the box between pitches. “This is not like you go up to the plate with an empty mind. When you see guys pitch, come out of the box, we’re not doing it just for doing it. Our minds are speeding up.
“I saw one pitch. When I come out, I’m thinking, ‘What’s this guy going to try to do to me next?’ I’m not walking around just because there are cameras all over the place and I want my buddies back home to see me and this and that. It doesn’t go that way. The only time you have to think about things is that time.”
Ortiz’s routine usually sees him spitting into his batting gloves and clapping his hands together. Apparently, that’s when he does his thinking.
Once May hits, if he steps out of the box, he’ll be fined.
“Well, I might run out of money,” he said. “I’m not going to change my game. I don’t care what they say. … I’m going to keep it that way. It’s not like I go around and do all kinds of stupid (stuff).
“I’ve got to take my time to think about what those guys are going to do against me — and I’m pretty sure every single hitter at this level is on the same page. They put the rules together, but they don’t talk to us.”
While the new rule is something he can’t control, one thing the designated hitter does have a say over is being ready to play first base when the Red Sox open the season in Philadelphia.
“It’s something I’m not really thinking about right now,” he said. “All I’m worrying about now is timing and hitting. First base is something I do occasionally. Mike Napoli’s our first baseman. We all know he’s getting ready to play first base. In my case, it’s just a few times. The basic thing that I do when I play first base, everyone knows; that’s why you see me out there a few days doing drills. But it’s nothing we have to worry about.”