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Ortiz Sees Progress, Hopes Return Is Close

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David Ortiz (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

David Ortiz (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox have taken the safe approach with designated hitter David Ortiz this spring, as the 37-year-old recovers from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss the final two-and-a-half months of the 2012 season.

Ortiz has been doing what he does best this spring, hitting, but has yet to get clearance to run the bases. So until that clearance comes, Ortiz won’t find himself in any Grapefruit League games.

So when can we expect to see Ortiz take his spot in the Red Sox lineup?

“I would like to be in the game tomorrow, no question,” Ortiz said with his jovial chuckle on Friday afternoon. “But we’re being smart and not trying to rush. I have another six weeks still, and they want to make sure when I’m in there’s no setback.”

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Ortiz did participate in some agility drills on Friday, another stride towards a full comeback. He said he has felt some soreness in camp, but it’s the “good sore” one gets from working out.

Ortiz On Injury, Progress: 

The slugger has maintained he’ll be ready for Boston’s season opener in New York on April 1, and when asked if he could return to game action next weekend, sounded optimistic.

“Hopefully. I’m going at it, doing things every day. When they feel I’m good to go, I’m good to go,” he said.

“Baseball is all about timing, so the more you play – especially a guy like myself who hasn’t played in a while — the better,” he added.

While it’s been a slow process, Ortiz is pleased with his progress seventh months removed from the injury.

“Yeah, I’m very happy. I’m excited going from what I was to what I am right now,” he said. “This off-season I struggled at the beginning, with all the treatment and stuff. I was having trouble walking. I’m glad we have doctors that know what’s up. They’re aware of your situation, and everything they told me it was going to be like, it’s like they saw it before.”

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“Every injury, it doesn’t matter what it is, you have to go through a program to rebuild what you injured, he said. “The last MRI we had on my Achilles, it was normal.”

Ortiz originally suffered the injury on July 16, and after a stint on the DL returned to play on August 24. But he re-injured the Achilles after legging out a double, and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season and then some.

But after an off-season of treatment and rehab, Ortiz said tearing his Achilles is no longer a fear he has.

“Tearing isn’t the case anymore, because that little tear I had is gone. In the (MRI), my Achilles looked normal; like a brand new Achilles,” he said.

“I’m not afraid of that. If I was afraid of that, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing,” he said confidently. “That’s not my concern anymore, so I think we’ll be fine.”

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