"It had nothing to do with Derek Jeter," said Ortiz. "Everything is all about Derek Jeter and I haven't mentioned Derek Jeter at all. I talk about guys who go for being an MVP candidate through the years in baseball history, and they always choose for home run and RBI guys, am I right or wrong?"
Ortiz spoke with The Boston Globe about the MVP race in Monday's edition, and the story seemed to take on a life of its own when the New York media relayed the comments to Jeter and several other Yankees.
"They're talking about Jeter a lot, right? He's done a great job, he's having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy," Ortiz said in Monday's Boston Globe.
"It doesn't matter how much you've done for your ballclub, the bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that's the guy you know helped your team win games. Don't get me wrong -- he's a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup. Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."
Ortiz felt his words were taken out of context and was disappointed to see the way everything was portrayed in the New York papers Tuesday, where headlines such as "Papi disses Derek," "Ortiz: Pick me, not Jeter" and "Ortiz: Jeter's no MVP" appeared prominently.
What bothered Ortiz the most?
"When people say things that I haven't said," said Ortiz. "What is out there, that they said I said, 'I should be the MVP and all that [stuff].' I don't think a player ever says, 'I should be this or I should be that.' That doesn't sound right."
Since arriving in Boston in 2003, Ortiz has always been in the mix for the MVP, finishing fifth, fourth and second in the last three seasons. While disappointed at the way his team has fallen out of contention in the race for the postseason, Ortiz said he is not lying awake at night worrying about an individual award.
"I don't pay attention to that. I don't even talk about MVP," Ortiz said. "It's just people trying to make some [stuff] up, I don't like that. That isn't me. I don't want to look like a clown in front of people that know how I am. The people who really know me, they know that I didn't say anything like that."
DiNardo to start Thursday: Considering the reality that the Red Sox are very much in evaluation mode as they embark on these final three weeks of the season, manager Terry Francona announced that left-hander Lenny DiNardo will draw the start in Thursday night's series finale against the Orioles.
"I don't think you can get a complete read on guys in September, Spring Training the same thing," said Francona. "But I think it's important for us to try to get as much of a read on some of these guys as we can. So watching Lenny, hopefully over extended innings, will do nothing but help us make a judgment of what he can bring to this club."
In giving DiNardo the nod, Francona bypassed journeyman Kevin Jarvis, who had pitched the last two times around the rotation.
DiNardo made five starts for the Red Sox earlier this season in place of the ailing David Wells, but then was sidelined for three months with a neck strain.
Manny sits again: Just when it seemed left fielder Manny Ramirez (patella tendinitis in right knee) was getting healthy again, he missed his second straight game.
Is there a chance Ramirez could be shut down for the rest of the season?
"If we have to. I'd rather not," said Francona. "I guess we could get to a point where the trainers say that's the right thing to do, but I haven't heard them say that yet. I think it comes down what he can tolerate. We all know what it is. If he gets to a point in a little while, maybe that's something we need to talk about. But I don't think we're there yet."
Ramirez has started just seven of Boston's last 20 games.
Wily Mo Pena started in left field and hit cleanup. Center fielder Coco Crisp did return to the lineup after missing Sunday's game with discomfort in the left index finger that he fractured earlier in the season.
Taking it slow on Papelbon: Closer Jonathan Papelbon did accompany the Red Sox on the road trip, but didn't appear close to returning to the mound.
Papelbon has a transient subluxation of his right shoulder, and the Red Sox have vowed to be conservative with his return.
"I heard he's doing very well," said Francona. "It all depends on how he progresses each day. I think they're trying to stay away from a timetable. They just want to go on how he feels, his range of motion, his strength -- things like that."
Coming up: Veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield returns from the disabled list Tuesday night to make his first start since July 17. Wakefield (7-8, 4.14 ERA) was sidelined with a stress fracture in his ribcage. He'll be opposed by left-hander Erik Bedard (13-9, 3.91). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.