ST. PETERSBURG -- With the Red Sox playing three games in Philadelphia this weekend under National League rules, designated hitter David Ortiz will have his first baseman's mitt ready. Meanwhile, Adrian Gonzalez is also expected to see some action in right field.
Manager Bobby Valentine isn't sure yet how much he will use the Ortiz-Gonzalez alignment, but expect it to happen at least once.
It's a better situation than a year ago, when the Red Sox played nine straight games in NL cities. After these three games in Philly, Boston will complete the road portion of Interleague Play from June 11-17, with three games at Miami and another three at Wrigley Field.
"I'm fine," said Ortiz. "No fear. Never from Papi. Wish me good luck."
Ortiz proved in the 2004 and '07 World Series that he's capable of making a good play when the occasions calls for it. The one thing he's not comfortable with is pop flies.
Having an elite second baseman like Dustin Pedroia makes his life a little easier.
"I try not to put pressure on myself and I just try to not be all fancy out there or whatever, but try to have the communication with Pedey, and I just don't want to be in the wrong place when it comes down to catching a fly ball or catching a ground ball," Ortiz said. "I try to mark the territory where I should be at, and after that, try to keep it simple."
While Boston is clearly better offensively with Ortiz and Gonzalez both in the lineup, Valentine doesn't want to overdo it, particularly with Gonzalez in the outfield.
"I think they're both capable," Valentine said. "It's just, you know, Adrian, again, is playing every day and asking him to run around the outfield and do that for a few days in this long stretch, it might be much. That was David's thought, too. I think David can catch it at first. Then you always have those plays -- throwing with the runner in the line, and things that could happen. I don't think David is real friendly with popups either."
Ortiz started two games at first base last season, and Gonzalez started twice in right. Neither player made an error.