Ortiz was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics as an amateur free agent in 1994. After spending several seasons in the minors, he had a breakout season in 2000, winning the Pacific Coast LeagueMVP while playing for the A's Triple-A farm club, the Sacramento River Cats. That earned him a September call-up to the majors, where he played in seven games for Oakland. Ortiz signed with the Orix BlueWave of the JapanesePacific League. On March 28, 2003, Ortiz hit a home run in his first at bat in Japan, and on May 3 he hit for the cycle against the Seibu Lions. He finished 2003 with 33 home runs for the BlueWave, batting .255 and driving in 86 runs in 127 games.Ortiz returned to the BlueWave for 2004, and he increased his batting average to .289. However, his power totals declined, as he dropped to 24 home runs in 128 games. After the season, the BlueWave merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes to become the Orix Buffaloes.