BOSTON DESIGNATED HITTER David Ortiz jogs out of the batters box followed by umpire Junior Valentine, rear, as he watches the flight of Ortiz’s solo home run ball in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. The shot to right came off a pitch from Twins starter Kyle Gibson.

BOSTON DESIGNATED HITTER David Ortiz jogs out of the batters box followed by umpire Junior Valentine, rear, as he watches the flight of Ortiz’s solo home run ball in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. The shot to right came off a pitch from Twins starter Kyle Gibson.

FORT MYERS, Fla.

Pablo Sandoval has become a $95 million bench player.

The Boston Red Sox announced before their final spring training game Thursday that Travis Shaw, a 25- year-old who made his big league debut last May, will be their starting third baseman.

“If it’s the right decision to help the team win, I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be ready for the bench. I’ll get ready for everything in the season and do my job,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to be difficult. I have to be happy and do a great job. It’s still a fantastic spring. … Nothing is easy.”

Sandoval hit .245 last season with a .292 on-base percentage, .366 slugging percentage, 10 homers and 47 RBIs. A switch-hitter he gave up hitting from the right side. Sandoval missed spring training games due to back soreness after he dove for a ball on March 22 off the bat of the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton.

Known as Kung Fu Panda for his physique, he appeared to be well over his listed 255 pounds when he reported for spring training in February. But the Red Sox said they were not concerned by his weight and principal owner John Henry said Sandoval’s body-fat ratio was 17 percent, down from 21 percent last season.

“For right now, to start the season, feel this is the best for our team, to go with this alignment,” manager John Farrell said. “My focus is on the guys that are in uniform, not what’s attached to them or what their contract states. We’re all about evaluating and what’s best for our team.”

Sandoval, 29, won three titles with San Francisco and was the 2012 World Series MVP. He is owed $17 million this year in the second season of a $95 million, five-year contract.

Shaw hit .270 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in 65 games last season.

“I feel I did what I needed to do this spring to put myself in this position. I’m really looking forward to experiencing my first opening day,” Shaw said. “Being able to start on Monday is going to be really exciting.”

Twins 7, Red Sox 4

In his final spring training at-bat, David Ortiz hit his first home run of the spring in the Boston Red Sox’s 7-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

Ortiz announced on his 40th birthday in November that this will be his final season. He played in 342 Grapefruit League games in Fort Myers over 20 seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox.

With two outs in the fifth, Ortiz launched a ball over the right field wall.

“Great,” Ortiz said of his home run. “These are Fort Myers fans that support the Twins, support the Red Sox and I’ve been here for a while. I bet you a lot of these people watched me playing when I played for the Miracles down here. I’m pretty sure they’re super happy with how my career has gone. You see a kid start and 20 years later, you see his career and being the way it has been, and then you get to see his last spring training game, and it’s something that makes it special.”

Ortiz struck out to end the first inning and grounded out to end the third before his home run.

“I think it matters a lot to David,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the solo shot, “because he didn’t like the way the previous at-bat went, asked for another. And to see him have that kind of intensity tuned up a little bit against one of their starters, good to see him square the ball up.”

Notes — Boston heads to Montreal to face Toronto in its final two preseason games, the first coming tonight and the second on Saturday. The Red Sox open the regular season at Cleveland on Monday.


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