Just a few days after we wondered in this space what if anything was wrong with David Ortiz to cause him to hit for higher average but less power this season, the answer comes straight from Ortiz himself: he has been secretly playing through a knee injury since last June!
According to Ortiz he first injuried himself during a batting practice at Yankee Stadium last June when he caught his foot while fielding a bunt in some webbing put down by the Yankees to protect the area around home plate. Ortiz had ‘a couple” of MRIs over the remainder of the season, which revealed a torn meniscus in his right knee, but doctors said it was not major and Ortiz was little discomfort, so he played through it.
As soon as Ortiz stopped playing baseball in the offseason, the pain went away entirely, and he also felt nothing in spring training, so he saw no need to get treatment. However, yesterday Ortiz revealed that the knee has been bothering him ever since the season started “much more than it normally used to.” He says the knee prevents him from getting into as deep a crouch in the batters box as he normally does, forcing him to “stand up more” at the plate, and ”When I stand up more, my body go forward more than I normally do, and it changes things.”
All of which goes a long way toward explaining Ortiz’s uncharacteristic numbers at the plate this year.