"My belly hasn't grown like Panda," Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz joked about new teammate Pablo Sandoval.
After a busy offseason, it'd be natural to expect some time to transpire as the Boston Red Sox develop new chemistry.
Turns out a nice weight-gain zing is what David Ortiz—the team's longest-tenured player—has in mind for welcoming Pablo Sandoval, whom Boston signed as a free agent in November.
"My belly hasn't grown like Panda," David Ortiz said Tuesday, joking about new Boston Red Sox teammate Sandoval.
Ortiz, the final player on the 40-man roster to report, wore black-framed glasses and was dressed in a black T-shirt with black jeans. He gave hugs and handshakes to many of his teammates and front office personnel.
The ribbing is friendly, of course. Ortiz has also been known as "Big Papi" for what seems like forever.
"It's like that every year, I think, everybody anticipates [Ortiz] showing up," Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz said. "When he does, it's usually with a new haircut and different shoes and different pants, but he always comes in looking like David Ortiz, and that's the best part about him. Everybody loves being around him and loves him being around in general. He's just a good guy to have in your clubhouse."
The makeup of Boston's lineup will be interesting to watch unfold. Ortiz hit 35 home runs in 2014, his most since 2007 (he also hit 35 that year). Sandoval hit .279 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI; those 16 homers were his most since 2011, when he knocked 23.
- Mike Fiammetta