BOSTON — One day after Red Sox slugger David Ortiz declared "war" on Rays ace David Price, the former Cy Young Award winner said he was neither surprised nor bothered by the comments.
"Not one bit," Price said Saturday.
Price drilled Ortiz in the back with a 94 mph fastball in the first inning of Friday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox, sparking tensions in a game that included four ejections and the benches clearing. Ortiz, who believed the beaning had something to do with him hitting two homers off Price in last year's playoffs, said he lost all respect for the left-hander, claiming he was acting like a "little girl."
"It's a war, it's on," Ortiz said. "Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves."
But Price, 28, said he isn't worried.
"For as many people as I quote unquote 'lost respect for,' I gained respect from a lot more people," Price said. "And I know that's a fact."
Former left-hander Mark Mulder, after hearing Price's pregame interview with Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, tweeted Saturday that his "new favorite player" was Price. Price told Rosenthal he "had a tremendous amount of respect for Big Papi, who is probably going to go down as the greatest DH to ever play the game."
But then Price took his shot.
"Sometimes, the way he acts out there, he kind of looks like he's bigger than the game," Price said. "That's not the way it is, not the way it goes."
Ortiz, 38, declined to comment before Saturday's game.
Price criticized Ortiz in October for admiring the second of his homers off Price in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. But Ortiz said Price called him in the offseason to apologize, which is why he was surprised that Price hit him Friday.
"You can't be acting like a little girl out there all the time," Ortiz said. "You give it up. That's an experience for the next time, but you gonna be acting like a little (expletive), every time you give it up, bounce back like that and put your teammates in jeopardy."
Price wasn't upset by what Ortiz said, other than the "war" reference.
"He was mad, I get it," Price said. "You say stupid stuff when you're mad. Been there. I'm sure he probably wishes he didn't say some of the things he said. You can't relate the game we play to a war. (NFL tight end) Kellen Winslow got a lot of (flack) for saying he was a soldier. No you're not a soldier. This is not war. We have troops fighting for us that are in a war. It's not a good comparison."
Price, who said he did feel bad for hitting Mike Carp in the fourth inning, doesn't believe the issue will carry over with Ortiz, at least on his end. But he isn't interested in clearing the air.
Said Price: "We don't have anything to talk about."