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Red Sox Slugger David Ortiz Responds to Steroid Speculation

David Ortiz

By Michael Klopman 

After missing the first 15 games of the season recovering from an Achilles injury, David Ortiz has hardly missed a thing. The 37-year-old Red Sox slugger returned to the lineup on April 20 and reeled off 15 straight games with a hit, tallying four home runs and 17 RBI during that stretch. He finished the month of April with a .500 batting average and wouldn’t be held without a hit until May 8.

The Red Sox slugger’s start was so impressive that Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy wondered if it was too good to be true — or clean. In a column published hours before Twins pitchers held Ortiz hitless Shaughnessy speculated that Ortiz’ hot start could be due to performance-enhancing drugs. Shaughnessy cited Ortiz’ age, his Achilles injury, the recent history of Dominican players testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and a 2009 report by The New York Times that indicated Ortiz had tested positive for a banned substance in 2003.

“Hitting is not this easy. Athletes do not get better as they mature into their late 30s,” Shaughnessy wrote. “Baseball has been peppered with performance-enhancing drugs for the last 20 years. The cheaters are always ahead of the testers. A number of players from the Dominican Republic have tested positive for steroids. Injuries to the Achilles’ tendon are consistent with steroid use. It is not natural for a guy to hit .426 out of the gate without the benefit of any spring training.”

Before taking the field, Ortiz discussed the column with Pedro Gomez of ESPN, saying that Shaughnessy’s speculation “makes no sense” and revealing that he’d been tested for PEDs just a day earlier.

“I have bad Aprils, they bury me. Or some reporter buries you because of that. You have a good April, it’s bad, too,” Ortiz told Gomez. “I mean, I would like to know or I would like someone to explain to me, what is it that us as players need to be for them to be happy and for us to be in the right spot.”

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