BOSTON — While the Red Sox aren’t ready to say David Ortiz’s 2014 season is over, it’s abundantly clear the team is going to tread lightly.
Ortiz suffered a left wrist injury during his second-to-last at-bat Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Tests performed Wednesday revealed inflammation. The 38-year-old is considered “day-to-day,” but Ortiz’s revelation to the medical staff paints a somewhat ominous picture.
Ortiz indicated that his current symptoms are in line with those he experienced before partially tearing the ECU tendon sheath in his left wrist back in 2008. The slugger was limited to 109 games that season, missing nearly two months because of the wrist injury.
“What we want to be careful of is that back in ’08, where he had a popping sensation take place after feeling some similar symptoms,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Thursday’s game against the Rays. “We’re being cautious with this. If he’s available, he’ll be in the lineup. But that’s pretty much day-to-day at this point.”
Ortiz returned to close out the 2008 season, but many attributed his slow start in 2009 to lingering effects of his wrist issue. The Red Sox thus are playing it safe while limping toward the finish line firmly entrenched in last place in the American League East.
“Not at this point,” Farrell said when asked if Ortiz’s injury could become a serious issue. “But, as I’m echoing some of David’s comments, the feeling he had after the at-bat the other night was similar to what he dealt with prior to the popping sensation at that time. That’s why we’re being careful with this.”
Ortiz was absent from Thursday’s starting lineup, marking the second consecutive game he was held out of Boston’s starting nine. It’s possible Ortiz could return this weekend against the New York Yankees at Fenway, but the Sox don’t have any intention of pushing the envelope if there’s risk involved with starting the nine-time All-Star in what essentially are meaningless games.
“We’d lean toward it,” Farrell said of potentially shutting down Ortiz. “But at the same time, if he feels like he’s good to go, we’re certainly not going to hold him out of the lineup.
“David’s trying to do what he can through treatment to be able to get to the lineup, but if it’s something that’s in that gray area, that’s where we’ve got to be cautious with that.”
Ortiz is hitting .263 with 35 homers, 104 RBIs and an .873 OPS in 142 games this season. He’s expected to be a huge part of the Red Sox’s effort to rebound in 2015, so don’t expect Boston to take any chances this week.