Ortiz, who has had some good days and some bad days in his battle back from an Achilles injury, has experienced some discomfort. The Red Sox thus decided to send him for an MRI on both of his heels on Saturday.
“That’s where he’s been feeling discomfort,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Fort Myers. “It hasn’t been in his right Achilles’ specifically. It’s been overall in both heels.”
The MRIs that Ortiz underwent seem to be precautionary, but the slugger hasn’t been able to appear in any spring training games, and his Opening Day status still hangs in the balance with just over three weeks to go. Farrell isn’t ready to panic, though, and he still feels that Ortiz is progressing.
“Just to rule everything out, he’s undergone that imaging here today. I think the one thing that we still hold in all this is that while the timing might not be what was maybe initially expected, the bigger picture is he’s still making progress,” Farrell told reporters. “He’s been able to run the bases — as we know — on the day that he has. He’s been taking [batting practice] every single day. There’s progress, yet, maybe not as fast as he might have anticipated or hoped.”
Farrell hasn’t set a timetable for Ortiz’s return, although he seems to understand that Opening Day is rapidly approaching and his slugger will likely need some spring training at-bats in order to get ready. The Sox skipper has even noted in recent days that Ortiz is growing a bit frustrated with how slow the process is going.
“I don’t know how we can measure degrees of a smile,” Farrell said. “But the one thing is, he recognizes he’s frustrated. I think he expected this to move along at a more rapid pace. But we support him and we’re going to do whatever we can to get him on the field and get him the greatest number of at-bats.”
Ortiz is obviously a huge part of the Red Sox’ offense, so while him being in the Opening Day lineup is the ideal situation for Boston, the Sox must also make sure they do what’s best for the long run. Until a decision is made, or the picture becomes clearer, we’ll just have to continue monitoring the situation on a daily basis.