Farrell: Ortiz may return in mid-April

Farrell: Ortiz may return in mid-April
April 3, 2013, 6:00 pm
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(AP Photo)

NEW YORK -- David Ortiz and Stephen Drew, who began the season on the disabled list, each seem poised to make relatively quick returns to the Red Sox lineup.

Manager John Farrell said Ortiz could start playing games in extended spring training as early as Monday, followed by a rehab assignment soon afterwards in Pawtucket with an eye toward rejoining the major league club by the third week of April, if not sooner.

Drew, meanwhile, is due to begin a brief rehab assignment at Double-A Portland Thursday and stands to be the team's starting shortstop as soon as Monday's home opener.

"[Ortiz] will travel down [Thursday] to Florida,'' said Farrell, "and continue his program there, with the intent of being in games on Monday. In talking with David, I think he'd feel comfortable with 25, 30 at-bats, likely to be taking place at Pawtucket. So when that rehab assignment begins remains to be seen, but we're still hopeful of a target time frame of sometime middle- or third week of April.''

Farrell added that Ortiz "continues to move along the prescribed plan that's in place. I know with each passing day, he continues to feel better about himself, with the intensity ramping up with his running. We'll get a better read when he returns to Florida.

When Ortiz returns to Fort Myers, he'll begin baserunning drills.

"That's the next step,'' Farrell said.

Meanwhile, Drew took part in an extended spring game Wednesday, getting four at-bats over four innings.

Drew is on the seven-day concussion DL, stemming from a beaning on March 7. He's limited to five minor-league rehab games. If it's determined he needs more than that, he would have to be placed on the standard 15-day DL for an extended assignment.

"The last couple of days [of spring training],'' said Farrell of Drew, "he started to turn the corner in terms of day-to-day feeling consistent without the spinning sensation that he was going through. [Going at game speed] hasn't increased any of those symptoms, so he's in a good place right now, all things considered.''

The Sox have Drew "mapped out'' for four games with Portland, but could add a fifth game if necessary.

For now, however, it seems likely that Drew could be active for Monday's home opener.