BOSTON Fenway Park hosted a lot more than a baseball game Friday night.
The Boston Red Sox honored former designated hitter David Ortiz, the man whose heroics helped bring three World Series titles to Boston, by retiring his No. 34 before the Sox’s 9-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The ceremony had multiple memorable moments, including when Kirby Puckettâ€™s family came onto the field, as well as Big Papiâ€™s story about trying to hit the retired numbers on the right-field facade during batting practice.
And for those who were closest to the action in the Red Sox dugout, it was a special event to watch.
â€œI think any time that we put on a pregame ceremony to honor an individual, itâ€™s done with such class,â€� Red Sox manager John Farrell said. â€œYou see the number of different people in his past representing him. I think those two players, former being Pedro (Martinez) and then what Pedey (Dustin Pedroia) had to say about David, I think a touch of class by both guys. But a well-deserved night for David.â€�
And his former teammates felt the same way.
â€œUnbelievable. The Red Sox, man, unbelievable about everything,â€� Hanley Ramirez said. â€œLike I said he deserves it, and Iâ€™m happy for him. â€¦ Davidâ€™s my family. Heâ€™s my mentor. Heâ€™s my big brother. Heâ€™s everything. What I saw today when he was on the field crying, that made me cry. So he was really, really happy. Like I said, what the Red Sox did, unbelievable.â€�
Ramirez, who since has taken over the DH duties for the Sox, even went deep on Ortizâ€™s big night with a key two-run home run, although he forgot to do Big Papiâ€™s signature celebration.
Letâ€™s take a look at a few more notes from Red Sox-Angels.
â€” Boston claimed veteran right-hander Doug Fister off waivers before Fridayâ€™s game, and Farrell announced afterward thatÂ Hector Velazquez was optioned down to Triple-A Pawtucket.
â€” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski also announced before the game that Boston signed third basemanÂ Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league contract.
â€œHe had a real good spring,â€� Dombrowski said, via MassLive.comâ€™s Christopher Smith. â€œReally didnâ€™t have (the opportunity) to play very much at the beginning of the year. He had some injuries. We had some mixed reports on him during the regular season and we felt at least get an opportunity to go to Triple-A and get a look at him. So really, weâ€™re open to improving our club however we possibly can really over the time period.â€�
â€” Carson Smith recently appeared close to making a potential rehab stint, but things since havenâ€™t gone well for the reliever, whoâ€™s attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery.
â€œWe have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year,â€� Farrell said, via MassLive.comâ€™s Jen McCaffrey. â€œWe thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP. Unfortunately that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I donâ€™t know that any of us can predict that right now.â€�
â€” Rafael Devers, meanwhile is close to a potential call-up to the PawSox.
â€œHeâ€™s real close,â€� Dombrowski said, via Smith. â€œHeâ€™s really close to doing to that. Heâ€™s continued to make strides. I think for him itâ€™s really been more the maturity aspect of playing day-in and day-out as far as at the plate and what youâ€™re trying to do, what they are trying to do to him. Trying to expose weaknesses that he has. Him making those adjustments.
â€œHeâ€™s got 14 home runs in the middle of the season for someone thatâ€™s 20 years old there. Heâ€™s hitting .300. Heâ€™s played well defensively at third base. Probably not an opportune time right now with the Sandoval/Peralta situations coming about. But Iâ€™d say heâ€™s real close.â€�
Thumbnail photo viaÂ Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images