LOS ANGELES -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz wanted to make one thing clear a day after his comments in the USA Today drew plenty of attention: He is not taking the side of Alex Rodriguez over teammate Ryan Dempster.
Ortiz is on the side of the Boston Red Sox, and that's the only reason he was disappointed in the timing of Dempster hitting A-Rod in Sunday night's game against the Yankees at Fenway.
When Dempster threw inside to A-Rod and then hit him during a four-pitch at-bat in the second inning of that game, Ortiz felt like it served as added motivation to both Rodriguez and the Yankees, who came storming back to win that night.
"All I said was that I didn't think that hitting A-Rod was right at the time and it was because that kind of woke him up and we ended up losing the game. Did I lie about that?" Ortiz said. "I think it was what everybody saw. I didn't say that I was mad at my teammates for hitting somebody, or I was mad that he hit A-Rod.
"I said it because I think you have to make sure to win every game possible. We've got Tampa Bay breathing down our neck, and they already won earlier that day. That's all I mean. I didn't mean anything else."
If Ortiz had spoken to the USA Today before adressing Dempster, perhaps it could have been divisive for the Red Sox.
The truth is that he spoke directly with Dempster the night he hit A-Rod.
"We already talked," Ortiz said. "He understands. He knows it's nothing against him or anyone else here. I respect my team, I respect everybody. Like I say, when I talk about this subject, I said very clear why I didn't like A-Rod getting hit at the time. People want to make a big deal about it. I don't [care]. That's me. I said what I feel and I tried to say it right. I'm here to win games -- I'm not here to get mad at nobody. That's me."
Dempster, who was serving the third game of his five-game suspension on Friday, was not available for comment.
"I don't think the comments David mentioned would have any lingering effects in our clubhouse," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I do know this: Ryan and David spoke Sunday night, and I think more than anything, David's comments were coming from the standpoint of not trying to give added incentive to the opponent, regardless of who the opponent is at the time, and just maintain our approach of going out and trying to win a ballgame on a given day."
Sox reunite with A-Gone, Crawford, Punto
LOS ANGELES -- For the first time since Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto were traded to Los Angeles almost exactly a year ago, the Red Sox and Dodgers faced each other on Friday night.
It seems like a classic case of a deal that has worked out for both sides, given that Boston and Los Angeles were both in first place.
"Obviously a big trade, I mean, I guess to understate it," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "Us getting Adrian, I knew we weren't getting Carl until this year. He was excited about that going forward. And Josh, at that point last year, gives us another guy, felt like he'd be good down the stretch for us.
"Obviously, just a big trade and it changed the look of our club. Now you looking back it now, it's helped both clubs. And it's helped our club. Adrian's been solid for us. Nick, who seemed almost like a throw-in in the deal, has been great for us. Carl, for the most part, other than a couple of leg things, has been good. We're happy with it, and [the Red Sox] seem to be doing fine also, so it's been a good deal."
Crawford stole two bases in Friday's 2-0 win for the Dodgers, while Gonzalez went 0-for-3.
Crawford declined to speak to the media both before and after the game. Gonzalez holds no ill will toward his former team. In fact, aside from this weekend, he wants them to do well.
"You always root for your ex-teammates, the guys that you live next to for a bunch of time and I had some really good friendships over there, so you always want to root for those guys," Gonzalez said.
To say the Dodgers, who are 29-5 since the All-Star break, are torrid would be an understatement.
"Yeah we're a great group of guys, great clubhouse, great atmosphere," said Gonzalez.
Beckett is out for the remainder of the season following surgery. Punto, as he's done for much of his career, was ready to contribute off the bench.
"I thought it was an unbelievable place to play," Punto said of Boston. "I loved the accountability factor. You'd go to the grocery store and get hitting advice. That part is awesome. But we were going from a last-place team to a potential first-place team, and that's the goal -- the goal is to get to the postseason. It was a great move in that regard."
Bogaerts being used sparingly
LOS ANGELES -- If Xander Bogaerts had been promoted to Boston earlier in the season, he actually might have gotten regular playing time. But it turns out his move to the Majors has come at a time when both shortstop Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks have been red-hot at the plate.
"Stephen has been on a good run for quite a while here, and Xander understands the situation," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We're all well aware of Xander's presence here, but at the same time, we can't get past what the production is of the left side of the infield. Right now, it's been pretty darn good."
Because Bogaerts had nearly a full season in the Minor Leagues, the Red Sox don't see a drawback to his decrease in playing time at the moment.
"Yeah, and we mentioned that the other day," said Farrell. "With over 500 at-bats at the Minor League level, we don't feel like him coming here and coming off the bench is impeding his development. He's had a full year at the Minor League level. Every at-bat he gets here will be valuable experience, particularly where he's at in his career. But there's not a mandate that says he's got to get X number of at-bats during a given week."
At the start of this three-game series at Los Angeles, Bogaerts wasn't in the starting lineup for the third time in the four games since his callup.
David Ortiz, who exited Wednesday's game with back tightness, was back in there at first base. Mike Napoli hasn't started a game on the road trip.
However, the plantar fasciitis issue in Napoli's left foot doesn't have anything to do with his recent inactivity. It's simply been a matter of Farrell losing a lineup spot without the DH.
Thornton could be activated Sunday
LOS ANGELES -- The Red Sox could get lefty Matt Thornton back in the bullpen by the end of this weekend. Thornton, who threw a simulated game on Friday, has been out since injuring his right oblique on Aug. 4.
"We'll check him tomorrow, and then, we'll go one of two ways. It could possibly be an activation for Sunday or, if we determine that he needs another time on the mound, we'll determine it," said manager John Farrell. "Most importantly, we just need to check that there's no soreness after today's session, during which he threw the ball very good."
Ryan Dempster, in the midst of a five-game suspension for hitting Alex Rodriguez on Sunday, did not throw a simulated game as originally planned.
"He'll throw his bullpen tomorrow," said Farrell. "He came in and got his early work done and, per the rules, he's left the building, as they say. So, we'll get him on the mound tomorrow."
Clay Buchholz threw a bullpen session on Friday and will fly Saturday to Hudson Valley in preparation for the start of his Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday for Class A Lowell.