David Ortiz in lineup vs. David Price

ByGordon Edes ESPN logo
Friday, July 25, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Ortiz did not miss his rematch against David Price after all.

The Red Sox slugger, who was was questionable for Friday night's game against the Rays due to back spasms, struck out against Tampa Bay's ace on three pitches to end the first inning.

Ortiz left Thursday's game against Toronto in the ninth inning with back spasms, but was penciled into the lineup -- hitting in his regular No. 3 spot -- at Tropicana Field.

"He received some treatment earlier today, swung the bat in the cage, he's fit and ready to go tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell before the game.

"He called me once we got to the hotel [last night] and said,''Hey, just be sure you don't count me out for tomorrow right yet.' He came over today got some work done, here we are."

The Rays, winners of seven straight, have moved two games ahead of the last-place Red Sox, who have lost three in a row after a five-game winning streak. This is the first time the teams have met since Price hit Ortiz with a 94 mph fastball in the back on May 30, the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

"It's a war," Ortiz said after that game. "It's on. Next time I see [Price], he better put his gloves on. I have no respect for him anymore."

Asked if he anticipated any fallout from the last meeting, Ortiz said, "Why should I? I'm not the one who's pitching."

Ortiz, who has four home runs in his past four games, said he first experienced discomfort in Wednesday night's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays and aggravated it on a check swing in the ninth.

"On my last at-bat, I kind of felt a little pop or something in my upper back," he said Thursday. "I felt a little bit of discomfort today, but I was fine [until] I made a rough move on that pitch -- tried to go and stopped -- and it pulled me a little more."