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.

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland put up mediocre numbers and won a Gold Glove in a walk year. For his efforts, he received a one-year, $5.5 million contract on the open market. 

That’s not a lot. Maybe his .233 average stood out to teams more than his 22 homers, but either way it’s somewhat surprising that a one-year deal on low money is the best he could do given the fact that his career average was .258 prior to last year and he’d hit .275 or higher in two of his previous four seasons. 

The contract might not be a major score for Moreland, but he said choosing Boston was. 

“I had a couple options, but really just the whole fact that it’s place that I really wanted to play,” he said of Boston. “Getting an opportunity to come here and be a part of a winning environment, being part of a winning environment and having a chance to go out and play for a championship is huge to me, personally, and this is a great option. 

“What they were able to do last year, you know you were in for a fight when you were playing these guys. It was a gritty group of guys that had a ton of talent. I like to think of myself as that type player, as a gritty type player and hopefully I felt like I could fit in here and move forward and try to help out and make that goal happen of winning a championship. 

“That’s the main goal as far as playing this game for me. I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity here, and that was before the [Chris] Sale news broke, too, you know? So seeing that also, it just shows you that we’re in it. We’re in it and trying to go all out to make that happen. I’m happy to be a part of it.” 

It doesn’t hurt that his batting average is higher at Fenway Park than it is in any other stadium in which he’s had at least 30 at-bats. Moreland has hit .341/.378/.683 with four homers and eight RBI in 41 career at-bats at Fenway. Asked to explain his success in Boston, he noted that “comfortable” was the only word that came to mind. 

So what is the Red Sox’ plan for the former Rangers first baseman? To play him at first against righties and let Hanley Ramirez DH, John Farrell said. 

Farrell did also point to Moreland’s recent work against lefties. Last season was one of two in his career (the other being 2013) in which Moreland had a better average against lefties than against righties. Moreland hit .277/.320/.479 against southpaws last season, with .221/.293/.407 marks against righties.

“Against right-handed starters, Mitch will be the first baseman,” Farrell said. “That gives us the flexibility to DH Hanley in that spot. One thing I also mentioned to Mitch is we’re certainly open to his at-bats growing in number against left-handers, last year was his best year against left-handers in his big league career.

"With Mitch, getting everyday at-bats against right-handed starters at first base and Hanley moving to the DH slot, that alignment, we also have the ability against quality left-handers, where Hanley would go back to first base and then we’ve got the ability to rotate some guys through the DH slot. 

Added Farrell: “His strengths as a player are many, but we feel this is a very good fit in a number of ways, and positionally first and foremost.” 

Red Sox make Mitch Moreland signing official

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Red Sox make Mitch Moreland signing official

The Red Sox officially announced the signing of first baseman Mitch Moreland Thursday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team designated left-handed pitcher Williams Jerez for assignment. 

Moreland has played his entire career with the Rangers, winning a Gold Glove at first base last season. He hit .233/.298/.422 with 22 homers and 60 RBI for the Rangers last season before becoming a free agent. He has a career batting average of .254, with a career-high 23 homers in both the 2013 and 2015 seasons. 

A second-round pick of the Red Sox in the 2011 draft, Jerez started his professional career as an outfielder before being moved to pitcher.