ST. PETERSBURG -- One of David Ortiz's signature bat flips brought David Price's early-season criticism of the Boston slugger back to the forefront Sunday at Tropicana Field. But this time, it was Price's teammate Chris Archer who wasn't happy with Ortiz's actions.
Big Papi blasted the decisive three-run homer off Archer in the third inning of the Red Sox's 3-2 win over the Rays in the series finale between the American League East rivals -- and finished his swing by spinning his lumber back toward the Boston dugout.
"It's pretty much what I do," Ortiz said of the home run.
But after the game, Archer took issue with Ortiz's bat-flip celebration and reiterated Price's comments from earlier in the year -- that Ortiz sometimes acts like he's "bigger than the game of baseball."
"I think it was a perfect example of what Price said," said Archer. "All of my interactions with him off the field have been good, but when it comes to him on the field, I don't know what makes him think that he can showboat the way he does, and then nobody can retaliate or look at him in a funny way or nobody can pitch him inside.
"I don't know why he feels like that, but obviously he feels the way [Price] said he does. He feels like he's bigger than the game. He feels like the show is all about him when in reality, if I don't walk Daniel Nava, if I don't give up an infield single to [Dustin] Pedroia, his home run means nothing."
Price made his comments when Ortiz called him out after Price plunked him in the first inning of a May 30 game, the first at-bat in which the two had squared off this season. Ortiz thought it was retaliation for the two homers he hit off Price in the 2013 playoffs and said after Price hit him that he had no more respect for the Tampa Bay left-hander.
"I hope that he realizes that there's more that goes into it than just him," Archer said. "I don't know -- I just feel like you can't say that your true character is defined by one action, but multiple actions speak to who you are. That's all I have to say."
Told about Archer's comments, Ortiz at first brushed them off, and even complimented Archer.
"What can I tell you, man -- I mean, players today are too sensitive about things, you know?" Ortiz said. "I'll just leave it like that, you know? I think he's a good pitcher, I think he's got great stuff. He's a guy that I think is going to be pretty good. But it takes some time to get to that level."
But when he heard that the young Rays pitcher had repeated Price's words, Papi had a little more to add about Archer's opinion.
"Whatever, dude," the Boston slugger said. "There's always going to be comments like that. And he's not the right guy to be saying that. I don't think, you know, you got two days in the league, you can't be just [whining] and complaining about [things] like that. ... Tell him to stop acting like he's David Price."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.