As the Red Sox return home after a disappointing road trip that saw the club drop four of the six games against their AL Divisional opponents, there is some optimism on the horizon.
David Ortiz is inching closer to a return from his nagging achilles injury that has sidelined the slugger since July 17. Big Papi was smashing balls during batting practice in the Bronx over the weekend, but did not participate in any running drills. Ortiz is hoping to get back in the lineup during this week’s six-game homestand, a move that will surely kick start an offense that has been dormant at times in his absence.
Ortiz made it clear that he did not want to rush back from the injury and put his career in jeopardy. The 36-year old is set to hit the free agent market after this season and he’s been quite vocal about his displeasure with the fish bowl setting that follows the Sox club. Papi is having a typical contract type year, producing a slash line of .316/.414/.609/.1.024 with 23 home runs and 58 RBI. A beloved icon in Boston, it’s hard to imagine Ortiz signing elsewhere, but given his frustration and the drama surrounding this club, it certainly is a possibility.
Do you remember the name Daniel Bard? He was that pitcher that would work the eighth inning in year’s past and smother any hopes of the opposing team’s thoughts of a comeback, before turning the ball over to Jonathan Papelbon. Well, he’s been anything but effective this year and has been buried in the minors ever since his demotion on June 5.
Reports indicate that Bard will return to the Red Sox this season despite his below average numbers in Pawtucket. The Boston Globe reports that Ben Cherington was discussing the possibility of recalling Bard before the rosters expand on September 1 in what sounds like a move to restore his confidence (if he has any left).
“He’s going to be back in the big leagues,” Cherington said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be. But its important to get him in this environment again and around people he knows well.”
“We’re trying to find the right time to do that and to do it in a way that’s fair to everyone.”
Through 29 innings of relief work, Bard has given up 29 walks, hit 9 batters, thrown 9 wild pitches and has an ERA of 7.45. With numbers like these it’s any wonder why the Sox would recall him at all this year. Sure the postseason is now a pipe dream, but there is still something worth playing for….respect. Bringing Bard into the ball game renders that and puts opposing batters at risk of injury.
As Carl Crawford gets set for Tommy John Surgery, Daniel Nava is inching closer to a return from a wrist injury that saw him land on the disabled list on July 29. It’s expected that Nava will rejoin the big club this week, taking Crawford’s spot in the outfield.
With a position player set for TJS, another pitcher continues to recover from the procedure. John Lackey, the $82 million dollar man threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and the reviews are positive; at least according to Bobby Valentine. It is expected that Lackey could see some game action before the season ends, albeit in the minor league levels. Lackey is in year three of a five-year deal that he signed with Boston in the 2010 off season.