Ortiz tells Middlebrooks not to push his return


Ortiz tells Middlebrooks not to push his return

BOSTON -- Having to watch the Red Sox struggle is one thing. Having to do it knowing that you're just one of a few power hitters absent is even more frustrating.

David Ortiz's return to the Red Sox offense this season is still up in the air. But one thing is for sure: Will Middlebrooks (broken wrist) and Adrian Gonzalez (traded to the Dodgers) aren't coming back to Boston's lineup. The three combined for 53 home runs for the Red Sox this season. And their absence the rest of the way will undoubtedly be noticed.

"That's the game," said Ortiz. "In the game, you're going to have power hitters. You're going to have guys that get on base. Everybody's going to have different roles."

Middlebrooks will be back next season, though. Ortiz -- as a free agent -- is still unsure what's going to happen in the offseason.

But Ortiz and Middlebrooks are together for the time being, and all they can do is watch from the Red Sox dugout. Just as Ortiz is waiting until he's completely healthy to return, he's telling Middlebrooks to do the same for next season.

"I was sitting right next to my boy Will yesterday," said Ortiz. "The guy has impressed me, you know what I'm saying? It's like, don't worry, we're in the same boat. Me, as an older guy, I tried to tell Will, make sure you go back to normal so you don't get worse. So, don't worry, we'll be back. And it's going to be at the right place at the right time, when it comes down to playing.

"I've been injured before. Will is a new kid who pretty much gives everything he has while he was playing. And out of nowhere he gets injured like that and has to sit down for the rest of the season."

Bobby Valentine says the lack of power in the lineup has probably had an affect on his lineup.

"Its hard to value that or weight that but we are lacking the real threat of that home run guy," said Valentine. "Most teams have a couple of them. Were lacking right now. We have guys who will hit home runs before the end of the year."

But certainly the Red Sox offense has struggled without Ortiz and Middlebrooks.

Pedro Martinez: 'Still optimistic' David Ortiz will return in 2017

Pedro Martinez: 'Still optimistic' David Ortiz will return in 2017

Red Sox Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez touches on subjects such as David Ortiz coming back, and advice he’s giving to pitchers Chris Sale and David Price.