PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP/CBS) — David Ortiz will be shut down for several days of spring training because of sore left heel, and the Boston Red Sox are hoping the break from baseball activities won’t prevent the slugging designated hitter from being ready for opening day.
Manager John Farrell made the announcement after Sunday’s 6-2 exhibition victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. He expects Ortiz to be out for five to seven days because of inflammation revealed by MRI tests.
“It’s separate from any kind of previous issues that he dealt with. It’s in the bone-tendon juncture, where he’s feeling the inflammation,” Farrell said.
“As a result, we’re going to shut him down for a few days here to let that quiet down completely before we initiate any kind baseball activities after that,” he said.
The manager stopped short of calling it a setback for the eight-time All-Star, who is still making his way back from a strained right Achilles tendon that limited him to 90 games last season.
“Compared to where he was a year ago, we feel like there’s progress being made. There’s no question about that,” Farrell said. “Yet he’s dealing we an issue, and we’ve got to give it time to clear up.”
MRI tests were performed on both of Ortiz’s heels on Saturday. Farrell is cautiously optimistic that sitting out up to a week affect Ortiz’s status for the start of the regular season.
“We’re three weeks away. He’s going to need at-bats,” the manager said. “We’re not foregoing opening day right now, but we’re starting to get into an area where — depending on how many days we need to shut him down — it’s going to have a direct bearing on where we are come opening day.”
The encouraging news for Ortiz and the Red Sox is the soreness he’s experienced in both heels is in a boney area — not the Achilles tendon.
“I think any time we can give some assurance that there’s no re-injury, there’s no further damage of any kind, that’s got to give some peace of mind,” Farrell said. “Yet the frustration exists because of not being on the field.”
It’s been seven months since Ortiz first suffered an Achilles injury on July 16. After a stint on the DL he returned to play on August 24, but re-injured the Achilles after legging out a double and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. He has participated in light base running drills in hopes of being ready for Boston’s season-opener on April 1 against the New York Yankees, but this latest bump in the road makes that look less likely.
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