"Everybody is different so you have to find the way," he said. "That's why we have spring training. You get to know the pitcher and when you've got the situation in the playoffs, you already know what they like to do or not."
A LASTING FRIENDSHIP: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter and David Ortiz came up as part of the Minnesota Twins' organization, playing their first big league games together 17 years ago.
They developed a friendship that's lasted.
"We're enemies, but I love him to death," Hunter said before Game 2 of the ALCS. "I'd do anything for him."
The pair played together until 2003, when Ortiz signed as a free agent with the Red Sox. Hunter still doesn't understand why the Twins let him go.
"He was, I thought, the best hitter in 2002 on our ballclub, and he missed six, seven weeks, and we non-tendered him and the Red Sox picked up a gold mine," Hunter said. "I thought he was the best hitter on our ballclub with the Minnesota Twins. You guys found a diamond in the rough."
Ortiz has gone on to hit over 400 homers in his career, collecting more than 2,000 hits and helping the Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and '07.
"I think David Ortiz — everything, all of his accomplishments, everything is well deserved," Hunter said. "I've seen him grow."
LOOKS CAN FOOL YOU: Jonny Gomes wore a combat helmet during the team's AL East-clinching celebration and again when the Red Sox knocked out the Tampa Bay Rays last week. He's one of the leaders of Boston's beard brigade, but John Farrell says looks can be deceiving.
"Don't let that appearance take away from how smart a baseball player he is," the Red Sox manager said. "He's a very instinctual guy. He anticipates situations as good as anybody we have in uniform, whether that's on the base paths or whether that's preparing for a potential pinch-hit situation."