Ortiz: 'I don't want to have any setbacks'

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Ortiz: 'I don't want to have any setbacks'

BOSTON -- The timetable for David Ortiz's return keeps getting pushed back.
Initially, it was thought that Ortiz would be ready to be activated immediately when he was eligible. But given that that date was Wednesday, that was obviously optimistic.
Then, earlier Thursday, Bobby Valentine said he was hopeful that Ortiz, who's been out for more than two weeks with a strained Achilles, would be able to return to the lineup this weekend.
But now, that, too, seems unlikely. Ortiz did some running in the outfield Thursday to test the heel, and while he felt some improvement, he still needs additional time.
It feels better, said Ortiz, who added that the team's trainer "were a little surprised about how I was moving compared to when we tried in New York. Like the doctors and trainers say, Im not going to be 100 percent when I come back to play. But when we start doing the power drills and once I start feeling better, I think Ill be ready to go.
Valentine joked that he wasn't going to order Ortiz to run the bases before being cleared, but he will have to demonstrate the ability to move better than he currently does. And he doesn't intend to hurry back only to put himself at risk.
Joked Ortiz: I can play with a flat wheel. Weve got to get better, though. I dont want to have any setbacks. This is something thats not a game. I was playing with soreness before I got into the situation at second base.
"Once I shut it down and started learning about that injury, I figured that its an injury that can put you out for a long time if you dont take care of it. Im trying to get to the point where theres no risks.

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.