David Ortiz Dealing With Calf Issue; Absence A ‘Planned Down Day’

David OrtizBOSTON — David Ortiz might not be 100 percent. But the slugger’s absence from the Red Sox’s starting lineup Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers isn’t because of any physical ailment, according to Boston manager John Farrell.

Ortiz recently has been dealing with a calf issue, thus raising some eyebrows when his name wasn’t penciled into Saturday’s lineup. Farrell said before the game the Red Sox planned for Ortiz to have Saturday off all along, though, and the nine-time All-Star is expected to return for Sunday’s series finale at Fenway Park.

“I think he deals with a little bit of tightness from time to time,” Farrell said. “But as much as anything, this is just a planned down day.”

Ortiz tweaked his calf during spring training and sat out Boston’s final five Grapefruit League games. The injury hasn’t hurt Big Papi in the early going — he’s 6-for-17 with a home run through four regular-season games — but it’s something worth monitoring, even if there doesn’t appear to be much concern at this point.

“This was a planned down day for him,” Farrell said Saturday. “Looking at the schedule — the late night travel, yesterday’s situation — we’ve got to, with all of our players, just rotate guys through.”

The Red Sox played a night game Thursday in Baltimore before traveling to Boston for Friday’s matinee home opener.

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