Notes: Papi to sit out Home Run Derby
Ortiz says the All-Star Game contest 'wears him out'
BOSTON -- As much as Red Sox slugger David Ortiz loves swinging for the fences, he plans on bypassing the Home Run Derby during this July's All-Star festivities.
"No, not this year," said Ortiz. "I get worn out by that. Maybe later. But no, not this year."
Ortiz participated in the event the last three years. He feels it's time for a breather.
"It just wears me out," Ortiz said. "The problem is, if you start and when you have to stop for all the guys that go and hit, I swing [hard] all the time, so when I had to shut things down and then start over again almost an hour later, I don't have it. I don't do well."
But he's doing fine in his regular job, despite being well below the pace of the 54 home runs he hit in 2006. Ortiz entered Wednesday's game with a .340 average, which ranked fourth in the American League, to go along with 11 homers and 42 RBIs.
Why is Ortiz hitting for less power this year?
"I think there's a lot of things that factor into it," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "For a while, his legs didn't feel good. You could see him in his stance, he wasn't driving the ball real well. Then he comes back and he's been swinging great, as his batting average will attest to. But he's getting pitched pretty carefully and I think he's handling it very well. He's not leaving the strike zone, he's taken the occasional hit to left field."
Pedroia sits, Coco leads off: A day after being promoted to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia got the night off. He was replaced in the leadoff spot by Coco Crisp, while Alex Cora played second base and batted eighth.
"We try to keep it spread out and keep guys in there and keep guys sharp," Francona said. "When Pedroia was scuffling, it was kind of popular to not play him. And then Pedroia gets hot and he's a good player. So is AC. Just want to keep it balanced and keep guys sharp."
Familiar faces: Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka has had plenty of familiar faces around the last few days. His first manager from the Seibu Lions -- Osamu Higashio -- is at Fenway Park all week as a member of the media. And Rockies second baseman Kaz Matsui played with Matsuzaka on the Lions (1999-2003) for five seasons.
Higashio monitored Matsuzaka's side session on Tuesday and suggested some technical adjustments that the right-hander plans on using in his next start against the Giants.
Matsui and Matsuzaka were good friends during their years together at Seibu. Matsui predicts bright things for Matsuzaka.
"He has good talent and a good future, and he's going to do well," Matsui said.
On deck: Right-hander Josh Beckett (9-0, 2.88 ERA) will try to make it a perfect 10 when he closes out this three-game series on Thursday night against left-hander Jeff Francis (5-5, 3.81 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.