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David Ortiz is in the midst of one fine victory lap to close his career, but the thought of hanging up his cleats appears to be be bothering him more and more.

Ortiz, 40, is batting .318 with 36 homers and 121 RBIs. Big Papi also lends the majors with a .634 slugging percentage and a 1.037 OPS entering Wednesday, so it’s easy to understand how hard it must be for him to walk away from the diamond.

While playing out his final regular season days with the Red Sox knee deep in a pennant race, Ortiz admits it’s hard to swallow the fact that it will all be over for him soon, even going so far as to express regret.

“I wish I could continue playing, but it takes a lot for me to prepare for the games every year,” Ortiz told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “I’ve been dealing with things the last four years and it gets worse, you know what I’m saying? And so I have to put a lot of effort and a lot of work to play at my highest level out there. At some point, it wears you out.”

Ortiz is in his 20th MLB season and appears headed toward the playoffs. The Red Sox (87-64) own a four-game lead over the Blue Jays (83-68) in the AL East entering Wednesday. The last time Boston won the division was in 2013, when it won the World Series for the third time in nine seasons.

Though he expressed some sorrow, Ortiz, who hit a homer against the Orioles on Tuesday, knows his time has come.

“I don’t know if I can play til 50,” Ortiz said. “I play in a lot of pain. I’ve been taking a lot of anti-inflammatories and stuff to get through it. We have good doctors and training staff, and they work hard with all of us, but it is what it is. Like I say, I love this game and this game is my everything, but it’s not forever.”

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