Early indications are he’ll also be able to recover from this potential setback.
Following a day in which he hit a go-ahead homer hours after learning of his positive drug test, Ortiz leads a Red Sox team bolstered by the addition of Victor Martinez(notes) into a matchup with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
Ortiz came to Boston (59-42) in 2003 and averaged more than 40 homers through 2007 while leading the Red Sox to two World Series titles.
The day before baseball’s 2009 deadline provided different drama for the Red Sox. A New York Times report Thursday said Ortiz and Ramirez were among the 104 players who came up positive for performance-enhancing drugs during survey testing six years ago. Ortiz later acknowledged that the players’ union confirmed the report that he tested positive in 2003.
“This happened right before our game, and the news blindsided me,” Ortiz said in a statement. “Based on the way I have lived my life, I’m surprised to learn I tested positive. … You know me - I will not hide and I will not make excuses.”
The five-time All-Star made a statement at the plate shortly after learning of the accusations. With Boston trailing Oakland 5-3 in the seventh inning and on the verge of losing a third straight game, Ortiz hit a three-run homer, propelling his team to an 8-5 win.
“I believe David will be OK,” manager Terry Francona said. “I didn’t have time in the seventh inning to think about someone’s mental capabilities. I was just glad the ball left the ballpark.”
Ortiz lifted his average to .228 by going 2 for 3 Thursday. He’s hitting .275 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs since June 1 after batting .185 with one homer through April and May.
Ortiz is hitting .250 with seven RBIs in 10 games against Baltimore (44-57), but Dustin Pedroia(notes), Kevin Youkilis(notes) and Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) have lifted the Red Sox to eight victories in the season series. The three players are hitting a combined .378 with 27 RBIs versus the Orioles, losers of eight consecutive series against Boston.
The Red Sox added a formidable bat to their lineup Friday, acquiring Martinez from Cleveland for right-hander Justin Masterson(notes) and minor league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. Martinez is hitting .284 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs this season.
Baltimore hasn’t won any of its past four series, though it did salvage a four-game split against Kansas City with a 7-3 win Thursday.
Baltimore pounded Smoltz in his latest start for six runs and nine hits over five innings Sunday in a 6-2 win. It was the fourth time in six outings he allowed at least five runs.
“My fastball, everybody has told me - unless they’re lying - that it’s good enough,” Smoltz said. “(But) I’m getting to the point where I’ve got to put a string of (good) games together.”
Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (7-9, 5.21) gave up five runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 7-2 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday, and has a 7.94 in two starts versus Boston this season. However, he has given up more than three earned runs only once in 10 home starts.