|David Ortiz looks likely for return Friday, Felix Doubront next on Sunday and Adrian Gonzalez is a ‘warrior’||08.23.12 at 7:57 pm ET|
While the Red Sox announced the “successful” Tommy John surgery on the left elbow of Carl Crawford Thursday in Pensacola, Fla, this could be a weekend of returns at Fenway Park.
David Ortiz is on tap to return Friday to a lineup that has struggled badly without him. Lefty Felix Doubront will start Sunday. And then there’s Daisuke Matsuzaka.
After going through a series of running tests for over 10 minutes and taking live batting practice on Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park, Ortiz is on schedule to make his return on Friday against the Royals, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced Thursday afternoon. Ortiz has been on the disabled list since July 17 with an injured right Achilles, suffered while running the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez homer the night before.
“It looked like David got through everything perfectly,” Valentine said. “He was running the bases. [Thursday] was the day he was going to run the bases, which he hadn’t done yet. He had run sprints and done other things. He ran the bases, we’re going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through, we’re planning on hopefully activating him [Friday].”
In 89 games this season with the Red Sox, Ortiz is batting .316 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs, slugging at a team-best .609 rate and an OPS of 1.023. The Red Sox have missed his huge bat and production, going just 13-21 in his absence.
Another Red Sox slugger – Adrian Gonzalez – got the night off from playing first base, serving as the DH on Thursday. He responded promptly with an RBI single to score Dustin Pedroia in the first inning.
“While we can, we might as well rest his legs a little,” Valentine said of Gonzalez, who has 14 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in August. “He’s such a warrior out there every day. He can just work on his swing and not worry about playing that great defense he plays every day.”
Gonzalez not only has his average above .300 heading into Thursday’s game, his fielding again has been outstanding, committing just four errors in playing in all but one of Boston’s 125 games this season.
“He’s better than I thought. He’s the Gold Glove in the American League, I think without a doubt,” Valentine said. “He has saved … I can’t even imagine how many balls in the dirt that are tough hops. There a lot of easy hops that are thrown in the dirt. He catches the tough ones.”
Felix Doubront will come off the disabled list and start Sunday against the Royals while Daisuke Matsuzaka remains up in the air, though he’s likely to make another start with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Asked to clarify the rotation for the weekend, Valentine responded with a testy answer.
“Doubront’s pitching Sunday … [Matsuzaka] will pitch Monday, not here necessarily. He has a bullpen, [Aaron Cook] has a bullpen … there are other things going on. Unless we just want to start some stir on something, I don’t there’s any reason to talk about it. Last time I checked Kansas City didn’t need it.”
- Red Sox recall Iglesias, Aceves; place Victorino, Middlebrooks on DL
- Cup of Coffee: Morales sharp in rehab outing as Sea Dogs roll
- Red Sox ink veteran lefty Rafael Perez to minor league deal
- Cup of Coffee: Vazquez nearly hits for cycle in Portland’s walk-off win
- Players of the Week, May 13-19: Mookie Betts and Matt Price
- Cup of Coffee: Montas strikes out eight in Greenville loss
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #34
- ESPNBoston: De La Rosa finding his way in Pawtucket
- Cup of Coffee: Bradley, Holt shine in PawSox loss
- Xander Bogaerts, Portland to headline Futures at Fenway