Big Papi arrived at spring training with a weighty quip about new teammate Pablo Sandoval.
"My belly hasn’t grown like Panda," David Ortiz said Tuesday, joking about new Boston Red Sox teammate Pablo Sandoval.
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Ortiz, the final player on the 40-man roster to report, wore black-framed glasses and was dressed in a black T-shirt with black jeans. He gave hugs and handshakes to many of his teammates and front office personnel.
"It’s like that every year, I think, everybody anticipates him showing up," Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz said. "When he does, it’s usually with a new haircut and different shoes and different pants, but he always comes in looking like David Ortiz, and that’s the best part about him. Everybody loves being around him and loves him being around in general. He’s just a good guy to have in your clubhouse."
Signed as a free agent in 2003, the 39-year-old Ortiz is the longest-tenured player on the Red Sox.
A career .285 hitter with 466 homers and 1,533 RBIs, Ortiz joined Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski last season as the only three players with 400 homers while playing for the Red Sox.
Ortiz is the only player who was part of Boston’s World Series winning teams in 2004, ’07 and ’13. The 2013 World Series MVP is entering his 19th season in the majors and his 13th with the Red Sox.
"The way he plays the game and how much love he has for the game, everyone respects him," said Hanley Ramirez, who signed as a free agent during the offseason. "What can I say about Papi? You know what he does on the field, off the field, so many good things he does. We love Papi. He’s the man."