Still Sore Papi Running For Real. Will He Be Ready For Opening Day?

Recovery from the Achilles tendon injury that trashed the second half of David Ortiz‘s 2012 season has been a long time coming and it’s becoming more apparent that his recovery may take even longer.

Aug 2, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) talks to reporters before the start of the game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Ortiz blew out his Achilles tendon on July 17, 2012. After rehabbing and resting this winter and taking it slow so far in spring training, Ortiz ran the base paths full out Saturday yet was sore enough on Sunday that he was forced to skip his back-to-back sessions. Manager John Farrell wants to see successive pain-free sessions before moving Papi to the next level. Ortiz ran again today and will try to see if he can go on Tuesday.

“It feels good. When I get it going, I’m fine, you know what I’m saying? The problem is once I cool off, I start getting soreness and stuff,” Ortiz told MLB.com’s Ian Browne after Monday’s rigorous workout. “The doctors say it will go away. It’s just part of the treatment, part of [increasing the program]. I wasn’t running like that, you know what I’m saying? When you’re injured, you have to start getting used to it.”

Which brings us to the what ifs. What if Ortiz doesn’t bounce back? What if Boston need’s to look for another DH?

It’s not about the money. The Red Sox smartly negotiated a fair deal with Ortiz that pays him what he’s worth at this point in his career and also protects them. As part of his two-year contract Ortiz’s 2014 salary can go up from $11 million to $15 million if he spends fewer than 20 days on the disabled list due to the Achilles’ tendon injury. If he spends more than 20 days on the DL Boston pockets the $4 million, which could be used for another hitter if need be.

If it comes to the inevitable and Papi can’t go no one will actually be able to replace Ortiz, one of the most feared, successful and clutch hitters of the past decade. His absence would leave a gaping hole in both Boston’s offense and their swagger. Ortiz’s situation is one reason why guys like Lyle Overbay are still hanging around camp.

Papi still see himself in the starting lineup on April 1 and is committed to working toward that goal.

“Oh, I want to play way before that,” Ortiz told Browne. “Of course, that’s why we’re doing all this stuff so I’m good to go for Opening Day. The main goal right now is to make sure I get to play down here. If I play down here, that means I’m good to go, you know what I’m saying?”

Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
- Born To Be Wild, Steppenwolf 

Topics: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz

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