Ortiz goes to bat for charity

Golf tournament will assist youth

David Ortiz thinks the Sox could use another 30-homer hitter. David Ortiz thinks the Sox could use another 30-homer hitter. (David Kamerman/Globe Staff)
By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / November 12, 2008
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He has "Big Papi" inscribed on the sleeves of his shirts, a sign that he's a man of wealth and, as his affectionate nickname suggests, a man who feels the need to take care of others.

David Ortiz's face lights up when he talks about helping kids with heart problems.

"Every day, I wake up and see those beautiful faces on a list I have, knowing they are cured and good to go," said Ortiz. "Makes me feel better than five hits and two jacks.

"You get famous and you have whatever you need, but sometimes there's always something missing. Right now I feel I'm a full package. This makes me feel really good. This has made me a complete man, knowing I'm helping somebody that really needs it. I'm really excited about it."

Ortiz spoke to reporters yesterday from the Absolut Club House at Fenway Park, promoting his new charity golf tournament, the David Ortiz Celebrity Classic (Dec. 4-7) at the Punta Espada Golf Club in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz is passionate about the tournament that will raise money for the David Ortiz Children's Fund, which helps children in New England and the Dominican Republic who need heart surgery. More than 40 children were helped by the charity last year.

Ortiz hopes to draw celebrities to the tournament such as Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, Boston greats Bobby Orr and John Havlicek, other high-profile Dominican players such as Vladimir Guerrero and Alfonso Soriano and Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera.

He also said, "I'm trying to get Manny to come."

The tournament is at the Sanctuary Cap Cana resort and the course is Jack Nicklaus's first design in the Dominican. Ortiz isn't much of a golfer yet. But it's not the golf he's emphasizing, rather the money to help kids.

Ortiz will go off now and rest his left wrist, which he struggled with for most of the season after injuring it in early June. No surgery is required, but an offseason of rest - and of not swinging a bat - should get the wrist back near 100 percent.

"I had inflammation at the end of the season," said Ortiz. "You stop swinging and take a month, rest, and give it time."

He said he got into a lot of bad habits and swung at a lot of bad pitches, problems he hopes will be solved next season by a healthy wrist and healthy outlook.

Ortiz also spoke about Hot Stove matters.

He thinks the Red Sox need another 30-home run hitter and bullpen help to get back to the championship level.

"I think so, especially in our division, the pitching is improving a lot," Ortiz said. "And next year, let me tell you, you're going to have to face a lot of good pitching. The Yankees are going to be better, those guys in Tampa have good pitching, and you never know what can happen."

Ortiz was careful about indicating where on the field this 30-homer hitter could be added.

Mark Teixeira?

"I haven't really thought about it," he said. "We got Mikey [Lowell] and Youk [Kevin Youkilis]. Mikey has had surgery, so you don't know what's going to happen. Hopefully, he'll go back out there healthy. You definitely need to find another guy who can produce here."

As for the Yankees, he said he didn't know whether they would spend a lot of money and regain their swagger, but said, "I know something crazy is going to happen out there. I know they're going to do something because of the situation they are in right now. That's why we need to get stronger, too."

But Ortiz doesn't believe his old pal Manny Ramírez will end up in New York, as many believe.

"I don't think so," he said. "I never heard Manny talking about that. I would think he'd stay in the National League. He did really good. He really liked it out there."

Asked if the Sox would have won the World Series with Ramírez, he smiled and said, "I don't know. Probably. Probably not."

Which one?

"I'll leave it up to you guys," he said.

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