Who’s at First? Ortiz Is, for Now

Times Staff Writer

The Boston Red Sox committed eight errors in the first two games of the World Series, setting a record for fielding futility, and their defensive alignment will actually get worse tonight.

David Ortiz, who started only 31 games at first base this season, committing four errors, will take over for Kevin Millar at the position in Game 3 because Manager Terry Francona needs to keep his cleanup hitter’s bat in the lineup in Busch Stadium, where the designated hitter is not used.

“I am not at all comfortable at first base right now,” said Ortiz, hardly easing the anxiety of Boston’s notoriously pessimistic fans. “But that’s not a position where you see much action. I’m just going to do my best and catch the ball, wherever it comes from.”


Ortiz takes grounders at first every day but has recently picked up the pace of his defensive activity, in anticipation of World Series games in a National League park.

The left-hander showed good hands and looked fairly agile for a man his size -- 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds -- during Monday’s workout. He may not be Gold Glove-caliber like teammate Doug Mientkiewicz, who will replace Ortiz in the late innings of close games, but neither is he inept.

“He’s actually really good,” Millar said of Ortiz. “He has great hands for a big guy, and he throws to the bases well. He doesn’t have a lot of range, but neither do I. It’s not like it’s going to be a circus over there. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

Mientkiewicz, a teammate of Ortiz’s with the Minnesota Twins, described Ortiz’s defense as adequate.

“There are a lot of guys worse than he is,” Mientkiewicz said. “But his bat far outweighs his defensive ability.”


Curt Schilling was limping badly in the clubhouse Monday, the day after he’d given up one unearned run and four hits in six innings of a 6-2 Game 2 victory, despite pitching with three stitches to hold down a dislocated tendon in his injured right ankle.


Dr. William Morgan said Sunday that Schilling might not be able to pitch again in this series, for fear the veteran right-hander might rupture the tendon.

But Schilling, who underwent a similar procedure before Game 6 of the American League division series against the New York Yankees, a game in which he gave up one run in seven innings of a 4-2 victory, wouldn’t speculate on his near future, other than to say he felt “no different” Monday than he had the day after Game 6 of the ALCS.

“I’m not thinking ahead,” said Schilling, who is slated to start Game 6 if necessary.

The ankle, however, may not be Schilling’s only problem. He suffered a slightly strained hip in the third inning Sunday night but was able to continue.


The Cardinals were not happy with the accommodations arranged by the Red Sox for their visit to Boston for Games 1 and 2 of the series.

St. Louis stayed in a hotel in Quincy, Mass., about 15 miles -- and as much as a 45-minute drive in traffic -- from Fenway Park. Room service was not available after 11:30 p.m. and several players were unhappy with the lack of transportation alternatives to team buses.

“The thing that was not good is that this is the World Series, the thing you dream about going to, and that was not the World Series,” St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa said.


“I’m just being honest. For some guys, it was their first World Series game, and they come back to the hotel and are eating hamburgers, pizza and chicken wings. But we’ll figure it out for this weekend. We’ll make sure we have a good experience.”


In a seat next to the Cardinal dugout for Monday’s workout was Benjamin Molina, the proud father of Angel catchers Bengie and Jose Molina and St. Louis backup catcher Yadier Molina, the 21-year-old who was called up to the big leagues June 3 and remained in St. Louis the rest of the season.

Benjamin Molina got to watch Bengie and Jose win a World Series in Anaheim in 2002, and he got to watch Yadier play the final two innings of Game 1 against the Red Sox on Saturday night.

Bengie was scheduled to arrive in St. Louis later Monday afternoon, and the Molinas planned to eat dinner together and play dominoes at Yadier’s apartment Monday night.

“I’m very happy,” Benjamin Molina said, with Jose interpreting. “I never thought all three boys would make the major leagues. God had a lot to do with it.”