To anyone still holding their breath that David Ortiz will play again this season, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine offered some free advice.

Exhale.

Valentine lacked what he called "earth-shattering" updates on Ortiz' condition before a thunderstorm delayed the start of last night's series-opening 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. But he said general manager Ben Cherington told him earlier in the week to "prepare just in case (Ortiz) is not going to come back."

Ortiz initially missed 35 games with a strained right Achilles, then suffered a setback while legging out a double in his return Aug.?24 and has missed the last 13 games. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection Aug. 27 that, according to Cherington, has left the slugger "feeling better."

Nevertheless, Ortiz is not yet ready to resume running. And with the Red Sox having fallen out of wild card contention, there isn't much point to rushing Ortiz back to the field, even though the offense has been only mediocre without him.

"I'm not sure that that's the official word yet," Valentine said. "He's feeling good, but I haven't heard anything about any baseball activities that are planned."