David Ortiz always planned on being at Yankee Stadium for Opening Day. He just figured he'd be in the Red Sox' lineup.

Instead, he settled for a round of batting practice and light running.

"Little weird, but it is what it is, right?" Ortiz said. "Opening Day's the one time that you want to be good to go, and be ready for the season, definitely. It's just a weird feeling."

Ortiz, of course, is starting the season on the 15-day disabled list, his slow-to-heal heels preventing him from facing the Yankees and their ace, lefty CC Sabathia, on the Big Apple stage that Big Papi has come to adore. And perhaps it was merely the optimism of Opening Day, but Ortiz concealed his disappointment by sounding a positive tone about his health, namely that his heels feel "more stable" than at any point during his protracted rehabilitation.

for now, at least, the Red Sox' plan calls for Ortiz to stay with the team through Thursday and go through agility drills under the supervision of the major league training staff, then return to Fort Myers, where he may progress to playing in extended spring training or minor league rehab games by the middle of next week.

"That's our goal right now," Ortiz said. "I don't know, I got to talk to the medical staff, see when they're going to decide to do that. Feeling good, very good. I'm at the point right now that it's more stable than what it used to be. That's good, seems like we're moving forward."