Not that it wasn't obvious to anyone watching the game on Friday, when David Ortiz hobbled around the bases in a 2-for-4 effort, but on Sunday the slugger admitted that, despite his one-game return, he was still experiencing pain in his long-injured right Achilles.
"We're talking about it because I just can't really play like this," Ortiz told reporters after the Red Sox' 8-6 win. "I don't want to be thinking about my foot while I'm facing the opposition, which is what happened to me after I hit that double the other night. My last two at-bats, instead of just focusing on seeing the ball and hitting, I'm thinking about how much is it going to react once I take off running."
So, there you have it, with Big Papi continuing to go through issues with that tendon, and the Red Sox all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, it begs the question what the right course of action is going forward.
For one, Ortiz said he does feel the responsibility to go out and play if healthy, insofar as he owes his appearances to the fans. However, he clearly hasn't been healthy enough to meet even that minimal commitment, having appeared in just the one ballgame since injuring the Achilles running around the bases after an Adrian Gonzalez home run on July 16.
For the record, the Red Sox went 13-22 while Ortiz was on the disabled list.
So, what's best for Ortiz? Will the Red Sox play a wait-and-see approach in hopes seeing what Big Papi has in the tank for 2013 and if he's worth re-signing? Or will the team play the ultra-cautious approach and just shut Ortiz down?