Big Papi steals spotlight as USA wins Futures Game


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

David Ortiz drew so many pals and well-wishers, it took him nearly three minutes just to climb a few dugout steps. He then swung behind the batting cage, gave Vladimir Guerrero a playful pat, and spotted another Hall of Famer along the first base side.

“What’s goin’ on, Papi?” a grinning Dave Winfield asked.

Yep, Big Papi is still a big hit wherever he goes, whatever he does.

On Sunday, that meant a new job: The retired Red Sox great became a manager at the All-Star Futures Game, guiding the minor league talent on the World squad at Nationals Park.

Final score: U.S. 10, World 6.

“Being a manager is not that easy, I’m telling you it’s not that easy,” he said after the game.

“Being a manager is stressful, especially when things are not going good,” he said, laughing.

And no surprise, Ortiz doesn’t have any intention of making this a full-time gig at any level.

“That is not on my bucket list,” the 42-year-old Ortiz said.

Luis Basabe got to see that big smile up close. A top young talent for the Chicago White Sox, the 21-year-old from Venezuela was picked by Ortiz to lead off and play center field. He rewarded his manager’s faith by hitting a home run.

Asked how it felt to share space with Ortiz, his eyes grew wide.

“His name ... Big Papi ... that name means a lot,” Basabe said. “A legend, a good teammate, a champion.”

Dodgers catching prospect Keibert Ruiz met Ortiz on Saturday.

“It’s awesome. Unbelievable. I saw David Ortiz with Boston Red Sox hitting home runs and then I saw he was manager in the futures game, unbelievable,” he said.

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