The Seattle Mariners signed David Ortiz as an amateur free agent on Nov. 28, 1992. Ortiz showed potential in his third minor league season, batting .322/.390/.511 with Class A Wisconsin.
On Sept. 13, 1996, the Mariners traded Ortiz to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for a player to be named later. The player was announced as Dave Hollins. It was not a good move by the Mariners.
Ortiz had some solid minor league seasons and finally joined the Twins to stay, at least for a while, in 2002, when he hit .272 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in 125 games.
But Ortiz had lost playing time to injuries, and despite his great potential, he had been inconsistent in his tenure with the Twins. They released him after the 2002 season.
In one of the great moves in baseball history, the Boston Red Sox signed free agent David Ortiz.
As the Red Sox DH in 2003, Ortiz hit .288 with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. He was a force to be reckoned with as the Red Sox became World Champions in 2004 and again in 2007.
From the time he joined the Red Sox in 2003 through 2007, Ortiz hit .302/.402/.612, averaging 46 home runs and 146 RBIs over a 162 game season.
A wrist injury slowed Ortiz down in 2008. He appeared in 109 games, batted .264, and hit 23 home runs, which was sub-par for David Ortiz, but the worst was still ahead.
In his first 34 games in 2009, Ortiz didn’t hit a single home run. He struck out 30 times, batting only .206. Things improved a bit as Ortiz slowly regained his stroke, hitting eight home runs in June and nine in July.
Then it happened.
In a New York Times article published on July 30, 2009, writer Michael S. Schmidt revealed that David Ortiz was among the approximately 100 players that tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear. There is nothing in his performance history to suspect that David Ortiz needed or used any performance enhancing substances.
When he was asked about the allegation, Ortiz had no comment, but later issued a statement confirming that his name had appeared in the Mitchell Report, but not confirming its veracity.
“One, I have already contacted the players association to confirm if this report is true. I have just been told that the report is true. Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive. Two, I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public.”
In 2007, Ortiz said that he used to buy a protein shake in the Dominican Republic when he was younger, but that he no longer used it. He admitted he didn’t know all of the shake’s ingredients.
Ortiz suggested that all players should be tested, which is the case today.
David Ortiz is not a liar, which is vital because that fact makes one question the accuracy of the Mitchell Report, which was released in 2007. The Report claimed, obviously in error, that players who tested positive were notified by the union.
Why wasn’t Ortiz notified? Was it an oversight by the union? Let’s assume that the union failed to inform Ortiz his name appeared in the report.
How specific was the qualitative chemical test for unnamed substance that Ortiz allegedly used? As an example, one test for the presence of glucose also gives a positive test for the presence of vitamin C. Does the food being tested contain vitamin C, glucose, or both?
Just look at Ortiz’ production since he has recovered from his injuries.
He batted .270/.370/.529 in 2011 with 32 home runs and 102 RBIs. This year he has fully returned, hitting .301/.382/.563 with 17 home runs and 49 RBIs.
David Ortiz’ batting record has been consistent ever since he joined the Red Sox. Unlike others accused of using performance enhancing substances, Ortiz’ numbers didn’t suddenly show a spike upward. They suffered because he was hurt in 2008 and recovered slowly.
Ortiz is the captain of the American League’s contingent of sluggers that will compete in the 2011 All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby. That alone is enough to dismiss any thoughts that Ortiz violated baseball’s drug policy.
After all, Bud Selig would never, never allow anyone who ever used performance enhancing drugs to be the captain of one of the teams involved in the Home Run Derby.
Ortiz On ’03 Doping Report