The normally jovial Red Sox slugger hasn't been himself in the batter's box or with the media since his 0-for-7 game against the Angels on Thursday night, and that's why he probably will sit out another game Sunday, take the off-day Monday and be back in the lineup at home against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
"We really do want to get him through the off-day," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We think it's good for him."
Francona said Ortiz would have sat out Saturday against the Mariners even if the Red Sox weren't facing a left-hander, in Garrett Olson, because "lefties are swinging the bat much better against this guy."
But while Francona has said Ortiz has been beating himself up mentally over the fact that he is batting .208 and hasn't hit a home run this season, he said he saw a bit of improvement in the big man's demeanor Friday.
"When I first saw him in the afternoon, it looked like he fought his pillow," Francona said. "Later in the day, he looked a little better, and he swung in the cage where it was quiet. I know the headlines said, 'Ortiz benched,' but that's not how I felt.
"We're just giving him a little break to get himself together, and he knows that."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.