BOSTON — David Ortiz had a message for the Boston Red Sox after his career ended with a three-game American League Division Series sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians.

“I told my teammates to feel happy and good about themselves,” the retiring designated hitter/icon said after the season ended at Fenway Park.

And, the last nine games aside, they should feel good about themselves after pulling off yet another last-to-first turnaround.

Let’s see — last-to-first-to-last-to-last-to first. That was 2012-16, and it is hard to imagine another serious drop in 2017.

Hours after a 4-3 loss to the Indians ended the ALDS, Dave Dombrowski, the man in charge, announced manager John Farrell would return for 2017 — not great news to many in the Boston fan community, but a solid one given Farrell just won an AL East crown.

“For me, John Farrell did a fine job this year,” said Dombrowski, who likely would have fired Farrell last season had the manager not just been stricken with cancer. “I’ve been happy with working with him and myself. I think he has the respect of the clubhouse.

“We played hard. We had a good season. We won the division title. We communicate well with one another.”

Heading into the offseason, the Red Sox have young talent to trade and a need for pitching — the playoff failures of Rick Porcello and David Price still leaving the club without a pitcher on the roster with a postseason victory as a starter.

Ortiz is gone, and while the clamor is already starting for Edwin Encarnacion via a huge free agent deal, there appears to be enough offensive talent — including a reportedly slimmed-down Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart both returning from surgery — to make another run.

The DH role is one coveted by Hanley Ramirez, who did a decent job at first base. Travis Shaw could wind up as the first baseman, with Sandoval at third, or Sandoval could move to first and Shaw and Brock Holt sharing third.



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