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Red Sox notes: Setbacks for David Ortiz (minor) and Scott Atchison (MRI)

07.30.12 at 8:46 pm ET
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When will David Ortiz be back swinging a big stick for the Red Sox? (AP)

Bobby Valentine hinted Monday that he is hopeful that slugger David Ortiz could return from a strained right Achilles injury by the end of the week, despite a setback over the weekend in his strength and conditioning program. Ortiz told ESPN that he could not complete agility drills for his feet and instead had to take to running in a swimming pool for treatment and therapy on his right foot.

Ortiz, who leads the Red Sox in homers (23) and slugging (.609) and OPS (1.015), injured himself on July 16 while rounding second base on an eighth-inning, go-ahead homer by Adrian Gonzalez. He was placed on the disabled list the next day and is eligible to come off on Wednesday.

“I don’t know if it was ever on goal,” Valentine said of Ortiz coming off the DL after 15 days. “Whenever he’s ready. He’s running in the pool and we’ll take it from there. He’s not far away but I don’t know that Wednesday is the magical day but it will be sometime soon. He’s swinging OK. It doesn’t seem like he’s lost a lot of his rhythm or strength or timing. But he’s only at about 80 percent because he’s trying to keep away from making the situation any worse.”

As for not performing the agility test, Valentine said the team was using precaution after Ortiz reported soreness.

“A little sore [Saturday],” Valentine said. “That’s why he went to the pool today to do that running routine.”

Infielder Mike Aviles continues to nurse turf-toe, with the team deciding not to place him on the disabled list.

“Mike’s dealing with a turf toe,” Valentine said. “It’s not a life-threatening situation but it sure is an incumberance. We’re just trying to see what we can do to get that feeling out of there.

“It’s not fun to deal with. The less he strains it in the athletic motions of playing, the better it can calm down. If it calms down, we’ll have a 100 percent Mike back. He could play the game, go in in an emergency, pinch-hit, do all those things. We wouldn’t pinch-run him necessarily but he could if we had to.”

The news did not seem as encouraging on Scott Atchison, the Red Sox right-handed reliever who allowed three runs in his rehab outing Friday night in Pawtucket. The next day he reported soreness in his right forearm. When he went on the disabled list on July 15, he was 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games.

“He had an MRI today and we’re waiting on the results,” Valentine said. “It seemed like he went in with a forearm and it moved back, up closer to the elbow. It seemed like 15 days ago it was just going to be he needed just a couple of days rest. And then we gave him a lot of rest, and then when he threw, it didn’t feel good the next day.”

Reliever Andrew Bailey hopes to be in games by this weekend after surgery in March to repair the UCL ligament in his right arm.

“He’s going to fly down [Monday], get a good night’s sleep and then play catch [Tuesday] and maybe get in a game Wednesday,” Valentine said.

Another rehabbing pitcher – Daisuke Matsuzaka (neck) – threw 47 pitches in 2 1/3 scoreless innings Monday night for Triple-A Pawtucket. He allowed four hits, one walk while striking out three. He’s been on the disabled list since July 3.

With the trade deadline looming on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, Valentine went a step beyond trying to assure his current players.

He said before Monday’s game with the Tigers that he not only likes his team, he sees more weaknesses in the teams they are playing than his own club. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington had been rumored to be trying to move Josh Beckett before the trade deadline, in addition to mulling other offers to improve the roster.

“I like my team,” Valentine said. “I think we’re a good team. If there’s anyway Ben thinks we can improve it for this year and beyond, I’m sure he’s going to do that. But this is a good group of guys. I don’t see any gaping holes. I see more holes on the other teams than I see on ours.”

Sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford Monday that a potential Beckett trade to Texas died after talks between the two teams over the weekend. As for his own status heading into Tuesday’s deadline, Valentine joked with reporters.

“I don’t think I”m getting traded,” Valentine said. “I’ve been assured I’m not getting traded.”

Meanwhile, the trade deadline comes right at the start of a big 10-game homestand for the Red Sox, as they play the Tigers three times, the Twins (4) and the Rangers (3).

Does Valentine sense a greater urgency to make hay now, with his team mired at .500 at 51-51 coming in?

“I don’t think that way,” Valentine said. “I’d like to play as well as we can tonight. If we win all 10 what does that guarantee us? It means nothing. The only that means anything is what we do today. Then we’ll figure out what we’ve got to do tomorrow.”

Read More: ben cherington, Big Papi, Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox
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