FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In what appears to be a precautionary move, the Red Sox had David Ortiz undergo an MRI on both heels Saturday, attempting to find the reason that the veteran slugger is experiencing soreness as he attempts to rebound from an Achilles heel injury first suffered last July.
"We don't have any official results on the MRI today,'' said Farrell. "We're still trying to get the images to a radiologist back in Boston for a read, but nothing even preliminary right now.''
Ortiz has been slow to recover and is now in danger of missing the start of the regular season.
"That's where he's been feeling the discomfort,'' said manager John Farrell. "It hasn't been in that left Achilles specifically; it's been overall in both heels. Just to rule everything out, he's undergone that imaging here today.''
The Sox continue to signal that they're overly concerned with the slow rate with which Ortiz is progressing this spring. He's yet to appear in a game and has repeatedly felt soreness when he ramps up baserunning drills.
"The one thing that we still hold in all of this,'' said Farrell, ''is that while the timing might not be what was initially expected, the bigger picture is he's still making progress. He's been able to run the bases, as we know, on the days when he has. He's been taking BP every single day. There's progress -- maybe not as fast as he might have anticipated or hoped.''
Farrell said the decision to examine both heels was because Ortiz has felt "general soreness and (for the purpose of) ruling it all out.''
The manager was asked if the soreness Ortiz is experiencing was the result of Ortiz compensating for the Achilles.
"Watching him run,'' said Farrell, "I wouldn't say, to the naked eye would suggest that. I don't think he's gotten to the point where he's subconsciously favoring anything, even knowing that things get sore, they get stiff and he warms it up and he'll go through the running.
"We're ruling everything out, but at the same time, we acknowledge that there's progress being made.''
With the regular season opener set for three weeks from Monday, there's increasing speculation that there's not enough time for Ortiz to be ready for the start of the season.
"We'll see how this week goes,'' said Farrell. "We don't have a date earmarked (by which time he has to be in the lineup). Our goal is to have David in our lineup for the greatest number of games that we
can throughout the course of the year. It's not like April 1 is a drop-dead date for an entire season, so we're not going to rush to any decision where we're saying, 'You know what, Opening Day is out.'
"He's frustrated and I think he expected this to be moving along at a more rapid pace. But we support him and we're going to do whatever we can to get him on the field for the greatest number of at-bats this year.''
Indeed, one Red Sox official said the fixation with Opening Day is being driven externally and isn't a focus of the organization.
"We'd rather have him back on April 10, healthy and ready to play the season,'' said the official, "then rush him to be ready April 1 and then have him experience some sort of setback.''
The Sox training staff was expected to compare the MRIs taken Saturday with ones taken four months ago, as well as others taken in 2011 and prior to the injury in 2012.
"There's a basis to compare to,'' said Farrell, "and more than anything, to answer any questions David might have with what he's feeling in there.''