David Ortiz won’t play today when the Red Sox open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Tampa Bay Rays.
But Big Papi still plans to be in the lineup Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.
“I’d like to be in a game tomorrow, no question,” Ortiz said yesterday after testing his right Achilles in agility drills under strength and condition coach Pat Sandora’s supervision. “Just being smart, trying not to rush it. I got another six weeks still. They want to make sure when I’m in, there’s no bounce-back, no setback.”
Ortiz, who missed the final two months of last season with a small tear in his Achilles, is taking batting practice and even fielding grounders at first base. But the 37-year-old slugger has yet to run the bases, likely the final hurdle before he’s cleared to play. Manager John Farrell said the club doesn’t have a timetable for when that will occur.
Although Ortiz’ injury didn’t necessitate offseason surgery, it required an extensive rehabilitation. And while he’s “very happy” with his progress, he still experiences soreness after lengthy workouts.
“It’s not bad sore. It’s the good sore,” Ortiz said. “It’s not the sore I was feeling last year once I got back. Going from what I was to what I am right now, this offseason I kind of struggled at the beginning with all the treatment and stuff. I was having a hard time even walking. Thank God we got doctors who know what’s up.”
Ortiz got 57 at-bats in spring training last year after getting 60 in 2011, even making long road trips. It’s unlikely he will be able to accumulate as many at-bats this spring, although he agrees with the team’s conservative approach to getting him into games.
Ortiz taking time to get in games
Boston Herald | Feb 23