BOSTON (CBS) – If all goes well, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will be back in the Boston lineup Friday night as the team opens a four-game set against the Royals at Fenway Park.

Ortiz has missed the last five weeks with an Achilles strain, but was able to participate in running drills Thursday afternoon. Running had given Ortiz issues in recent comeback attempts, but following Thursday’s drills Ortiz thinks he is ready to go.

“I feel OK,” Ortiz said from the Red Sox dugout Thursday evening. “I’m not ready, ready, but I think I can play like this. Hopefully I will continue improving.”

Ortiz On Injury, Coming Back: 

A lot will depend on how Ortiz feels Friday morning. He said he can walk without pain, but anticipates some pain to return when he begins to run on a regular basis.

“I’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer,” he said. It’s better. It’s not like it used to be. It’s not painful. But not until I stop doing things, I’m not going to be back to normal. Hopefully it doesn’t get worse.”

Ortiz has been sidelined since July 17, missing 34 games in the stretch. The Red Sox are 13-22 without Ortiz in the lineup.

Ortiz, Boston’s lone All-Star this season, is hitting .316 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs in 89 games.

When asked if he had any “pop” left, Ortiz was quick to respond.

“You’re about to find out,” he told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche with a smirk.


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