Ortiz taking cautious approach

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Ortiz taking cautious approach

BOSTON David Ortiz said his strained right Achilles tendon is feeling better. But he doesnt know when he will be back in the lineup.

Its getting better slowly, he said after Saturdays loss to the Twins. Its going day by day. But Im starting to feel better. The pains starting to go away. Thats a good sign.

Asked if he thought he could return during the homestand, which ends Wednesday, Ortiz replied:

I dont know. I dont know yet.

Got to wait until I start doing the power drill and be pain free.

Ortiz, who has been on the DL since July 17, has not had any setbacks in his rehab, though.

No I havent, he said. Everything is going pretty much the way they planned because this is an injury that youre going to have those good days and those bad days. This is an injury that the only thing that fixes it is the time off. And its a little difficult for me right now, just being able to watch the game on TV and not being out there to help the ball club.

At the same time Im planning to keep on playing baseball and I dont want to do anything thats stupid that can put my career in jeopardy. So got to do what they tell me to do.

It has been difficult for him to sit on the sidelines and watch, he said. The Sox are 7-11 in his absence, including the current four-game losing streak. Watching Saturdays ninth-inning loss was especially tough.

Its hard, really hard, he said. But its better to be smart than being stupid. I want to be out there. It doesnt depend on me. It depends on how fast my injury heals up, and I can go back on the field without running a risk. Its a serious injury that you got to go day by day with.

We havent been able to keep up, and its just frustrating just looking at the results.

He believes his team can bounce back.

Everythings possible, he said. We still have a lot of games left. We just have to get caught into go straight. Try to come back and play better.

The offense which has been inconsistent for much of the season, has been wildly inconsistent in his absence. In just the last three games against the Twins, they have recorded two hits Thursday, both by Adrian Gonzalez, 14 hits on Friday, and six hits on Saturday, all resulting in losses.

I would call this a funk that we work with in the season and we havent been able to be consistent lately, he said. Hopefully things get better and we find a way to score more runs for our pitchers.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.