By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON David Ortiz was in the Red Sox clubhouse before Wednesday afternoons series finale against the Rays with a plastic walking boot on his right foot. He would be sidelined for the third straight game with bursitis in the back of his right heel.
The bursitis flared up Sunday in Seattle.
The day off Monday it was alright, but yesterday I couldnt run, Ortiz said. I was limping really bad. So I finally come to the doctor and he checked me out. Were just going to get some treatment and its not anything crazy.
Ortiz is hopeful he can avoid the disabled list and get back into the lineup by the end of the road trip next week. The Sox play four games in Kansas City beginning Thursday, and four in Texas beginning Monday, before returning to Fenway Park Aug. 26 to face the As.
Meanwhile, manager Terry Francona would like to use Ortizs absence as a way to get some needed rest for other players. Adrian Gonzalez is served as the DH Wednesday. Jed Lowrie and Carl Crawford did so in Game's 1 and 2 of Tuesdays doubleheader. Its a role some players can adapt to more easily than others.
For the most part I dont think Gonzie really likes it, Francona said. But I think todays a day hell happily do it. Some guys dont like it but I think when they get to this point of the season and theyre beat up. It does help.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.
Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.
Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.
Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.
Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.
Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.
Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.
Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.
Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.
Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."
He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured.
“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.
“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”
Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.
He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.