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David Ortiz vehemently blasts notion that his bat speed is declining

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Last rites were being read on David Ortiz’s illustrious major league career when he stumbled out of the gates this season. This prompted the Boston Red Sox slugger, 39, to feel compelled on numerous occasions to vehemently deny that Father Time at long last had caught up with him.

A rudimentary look at his statistics did indicate that his skills at the plate did appear to be slipping, though, as he found himself mired in a prolonged slump earlier this season when he had a slash line of .236/.337/.444 in April and a woeful .214/.287/.337 in May while knocking out only six home runs over that nearly two-month span.

But Big Papi rebounded in June (.237/.321/.495), bashing out seven home runs, including one in Boston’s 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, his seventh round-tripper in his past 19 games.

After the game, Ortiz blasted critics who have opined that declining bat speed was the primary reason for his below-career-average numbers, suggesting that if it were indeed the case, why don’t pitchers groove fastballs right down the middle.

“I don’t know why people go there,” he said, via an ESPN.com report. “Why don’t they throw me 96 miles an hour right down [the middle]. Tell all the pitchers to throw me fastballs 96 right down the [middle]. See if I lost bat speed.”

Referencing a home run he hit on Sunday, one that came when Rays ace Chris Archer threw him a slider on a 3-0 count, Ortiz openly questioned why the pitcher wouldn’t have thrown a blistering fastball if his bat speed was declining. This led to the slugger being at his fiery and eloquent best during a diatribe where he blasted the same critics he previously chastised.

“You know why they talk?” he said. “They want to make noise. They want people to listen to them. There’s a reason a guy who throws 97 throws me a 3-and-0 slider, because he knows what I can do with a fastball.

“I don’t like the knowledge people have about the game today. They just want attention. When you say Papi’s lost bat speed, you’re just calling people’s attention.

“Tell those pitchers who throw 97 to throw me fastballs all the time. Show them b—- what that’s all about. Talk about bat speed.

“Tell them to throw me fastballs. Bat speed.

That’s when Big Papi concluded his comments, reportedly laughing as he walked away.

(image via CBS Local/Connecticut)