Another no-running day for Ortiz; Opening Day remains in question

Another no-running day for Ortiz; Opening Day remains in question
March 8, 2013, 4:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz was scheduled to take batting practice and go through some drills Friday, but the veteran DH was held out of baserunning activity, increasing speculation that he may not be ready for the April 1 regular season opener.

"No running today,'' said John Farrell. "Hopefully, [he'll run Saturday]. There are days we have to adjust at the moment. I know David's frustrated by it. We'll continue to go day-by-day with it.''

Farrell said there are no plans in place for Ortiz to have his ailing Achilles heel re-examined.

"Not at this point,'' said Farrell, "but we wouldn't rule that out.''

The manager said the plan is for Ortiz to have a "high-intensity'' work day on the bases Saturday, "but because it's so day-to-day, it's hard to say what we're planning. I mean, we have a plan. But we [may] have to adjust off it.''

The season opener is just over three weeks away and Ortiz has yet to appear in a spring training game and won't for probably another week.

Still, Farrell maintained that the Sox have not yet determined a date by which Ortiz will be ruled out for the opener.

"We haven't gotten to that point, no,'' said Farrell, "because we feel like, even now, with minor-league games starting up, we'll still be able to get [him] the appropriate number of at-bats and that he'll feel comfortable, provided there's progress being made.

"Every indication is that [there's been no regression or new injury] right now. [The current problems stem from] getting back in shape, and it's volume- and intensity-related, so there isn't the thought of any kind of re-injury or injuring any more than what was done last year.''

Farrell acknowledged it's possible that Ortiz has to get over a mental hurdle to fully push the heel without worrying that he's at risk for damaging it.

"It's so case-by-case,'' said Farrell. "David's frustrated by the start-and-stop type approach to this rather than by being at a steady incline to being back at full-game speed. Everybody's going to respond differently to an injury.''

Farrell said the Sox haven't begun evaluating other options for DH.

"He's critically important to our lineup and he's aware of that,'' said Farrell. "I think that's what kind of adds to his frustration at not being able to get on the field and participate in spring training and get ready for the regular season.

"But because we haven't gotten to that date, where, okay, Plan B is now a legitimate one -- I know those discussions will take place, but we're still hopeful and taking the approach that he will be ready. But we've got to be aware that may need adjusting.''

When the season does begin, the Sox will be playing in cold-weather cities (in New York for the series opener, and later, a homestand at Fenway) as well as on artificial turf in Toronto in the second series, two more variables to consider.

"That's all going to be subject to our monitoring,'' Farrell said, "and how he comes out of each game and each drill session leading up to games, so we've got to stay flexible with all that.

''Fortunately, being DH, he's not taking the wear-and-tear on the turf that a regular everyday position player would. I know we're going to have to prepare if that time comes, but right now, we're focusing on his work and hopefully being ready for the opener.''