CAROLINA, Puerto Rico – As long as the Dominican Republic stays alive in the World Baseball Classic, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez will likely remain part-time players.

That essentially became a certainty Tuesday when David Ortiz all but said he does not envision himself playing first base, meaning manager Felipe Alou cannot put both of his star shortstops – Reyes and Hanley Ramirez – in the same lineup.

The original plan was to have Ortiz play first base a position he has played only 27 times since 2005 so that Reyes and Ramirez could alternate between shortstop and designated hitter. But Ortiz has complained of a sore left shoulder, and Tuesday essentially admitted he’s not comfortable playing in the field anymore.

“Dude, you know what? I’m not a first baseman anymore,” Ortiz said after taking batting practice during an off-day workout at Roberto Clemente Stadium. “I hung up my glove a long time ago. I might go out there and try, but everybody knows me as a DH, not as a gold-glover.”

Alou was holding out hope that Ortiz could play first base tonight as Dominican Republic faces elimination, but that sure doesn’t likely. Ortiz did not bring a glove with him on the field for their workout, only a bat. Thus, once his batting practice session was over, he left the field instead of taking grounders. “Since day one, since I came here, I said I would play if I had no problem, first base,” Ortiz said, “but if you got something that bothers you and at the same time you’re not even a real first baseman…”

Ortiz said his shoulder only bothers him when he throws, not hits.

“You got to be aware of what you are capable of doing and deal with it,” he said. “I know people believe that as a first baseman you don’t have to be throwing all over the place but you never know when you need to make a throw. Tough situation, save the game, or whatever, it doesn’t work out and then what are you going to say?”

So if Dominican Republic makes it to the WBC title game March 23 and Ortiz remains unable to play the field the whole time, it’s plausible to think that Reyes and Ramirez will have each played as few as five games.


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