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Jim Palmer responds to 'loyal bunch' of angry Red Sox fans

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer is suddenly Public Red Sox Enemy No. 1 after sending out a tweet Sunday that criticized Sox designated hitter David Ortiz for the histrionics that got him ejected from a tight game against the Orioles and led to him being suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball.

Palmer's tweet was short and not so sweet. It read, "FINALLY, Ortiz gets tossed. #disrespectful #zipitOrtiz @Orioles @masnOrioles" and it caused a tweet storm, with angry Red Sox fans blasting Palmer for both his baseball and broadcasting skills. Some of them apparently were too young — or two blinded by their Internet-fueled rage — to realize that he was one of the greatest pitchers of the modern era.

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"They're a loyal bunch, aren't they,'' Palmer said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The O's television analyst, who was not working Sunday's game, took it all in good humor and retweeted a lot of the most vociferous shots on his Twitter site — @Jim22Palmer — before heading off to Disney World this week with his stepson Spencer.

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The Orioles had just taken a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning of a game they would eventually win by a five-run margin. Ortiz reacted badly when he tried to check his swing and it was called a strike by third base umpire Jerry Meals. He had protested a similar call during his first at-bat and the umpiring crew apparently had seen enough of his act. He was ejected by home plate umpire John Tumpane.

"I was watching on my couch,'' Palmer said. "I'm sure the Orioles were elated that he wasn't available to hit in the seventh or eighth inning, though I doubt anyone would say that. Was he right? It looked like a check swing to me, but do you know how many pitches I thought were strikes during my career that weren't called? You've just got to move on."

Ortiz told Boston reporters he thought Palmer was a friend.

"That's how he wants to get respect from us? Is that how he wants me to respect him? It's not going to happen," Ortiz said. "I thought that he was one of my guys. All of a sudden now he's killing me, huh? I guess anybody who wants to get famous or make some noise comes to Papi, right?"

Palmer said he does not have any personal animosity for Ortiz, who obviously is a well-loved figure in Boston.

"I have great admiration for him, but that's got nothing to do with this,'' Palmer said. "I saw Yaz [Carl Yastrzemski], Jim Rice … I've seen some of the greatest Red Sox ever and I played against them. I never saw one of them do that. It was a tight game."

The Twitter division of Red Sox Nation didn't seem to care about any of that. They just wanted to pile on Palmer.

"Stop giving David Ortiz crap,'' tweeted one angry fan. "He's a better player now than you have ever been. Give him the respect he deserves."

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In a truly classic Twitter moment, one Red Sox supporter tried to call Palmer an idiot, but spelled the word "idot."

"It's funny,'' Palmer said. "I haven't heard from one of them — not one — who has been able to rationalize that what David did on Sunday helped the Orioles win."

Hardy heads to Norfolk

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy's progress from a left shoulder strain hasn't improved in about a week.

Hardy flew to Virginia Tuesday morning to join Triple-A Norfolk to work out because they are the only Orioles affiliate playing at home.

For the second straight day, Hardy did not take live batting practice; instead he fielded grounders and hit off a tee. He could resume live hitting on Wednesday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

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The Orioles still believe that once Hardy is able to begin a minor league rehab assignment, he won't need many games until he will be ready to rejoin the team, but there's no timetable for when he would be able to start a rehab assignment.

"There's nothing imminent, but it's proceeding," Showalter said.

While playing in the minor leagues, Hardy missed nearly the entire 2004 season with surgery to repair multiple labrum tears in his left shoulder.

Wieters to catch on Friday

Catcher Matt Wieters is slated to catch two to three innings in an extended spring training game on Friday in Sarasota, Fla.

It would be the first time he has been allowed to throw with full effort since he was shelved following one Grapefruit League game last month.

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Around the horn

During batting practice Tuesday, third baseman Jimmy Paredes was hit on the right side of the face with a batted ball that took a bad hop off the Rogers Centre's new artificial turf. He was escorted off the field by head trainer Richie Bancells, but was OK, according to a team spokesman, and available off the bench. … Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, on the disabled list with a Grade 1 partial PCL tear and MCL sprain in his right knee, was fitted for a PCL brace on Tuesday. That means the swelling in his knee has gone down significantly since he injured it in Friday's game. … Pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, who is recovering from a right fibula fracture, will throw from a half mound on Wednesday. … Right-handed pitcher Dane De La Rosa (right meniscus surgery) is slated to start pitching in extended spring training games next week . … Triple-A Norfolk infielder Rey Navarro was activated off the minor league disabled list on Tuesday.


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