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John Farrell on prospects of David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley Jr. making Opening Day roster

03.09.13 at 4:26 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox sent designated hitter David Ortiz for MRIs on both heels based on the ongoing discomfort he’s feeling in both areas. Manager John Farrell suggested that, despite the fact that he continues to experience pain in those regions — resulting in what he characterized as precautionary MRIs — the 37-year-old continues to make progress in his return from the injured right Achilles that ended his 2012 season.

“Just to rule everything out, he’€™s undergone that imaging here today. I think the one thing that we still hold in all this is that while the timing might not be what was maybe initially expected, the bigger picture is he’€™s still making progress,” said Farrell. “He’€™s been able to run the bases — as we know — on the day that he has. He’€™s been taking [batting practice] every single day. There’€™s progress, yet, maybe not as fast as he might have anticipated or hoped.’€

Farrell continued to say that there’s no defined timetable that Ortiz must follow in order to return by Opening Day. Still, he acknowledged that there are certain realities of the calendar as April 1 draws nearer.Even so, he suggested that the importance of having Ortiz ready for April 1 pales in comparison to the bigger picture question of his availability for the lion’s share of the season’s 162 games.

“We’€™ll see how this week goes. We don’€™t have a date earmarked,” said Farrell. “Our goal is to have David in our lineup for the greatest number of games that we can throughout the course of the year. It’€™s not like April 1st is a drop-dead date for an entire season. we’€™re not going to rush to any decision where we’€™re saying, you know what, opening day is out. … He’€™s frustrated. I think he expected this to be moving along a at a little bit more of a rapid pace. But we support him and we’€™re going to do whatever we can to get him on the field for the greatest number of at-bats this year.’€

If Ortiz is on the disabled list to start the year, Farrell was asked whether that might create an opening for Jackie Bradley Jr. on the Opening Day roster. While he suggested that such a conversation might take place, he reiterated that the impressive outfielder is expected to start the year in the minors. (One team source said flatly that Bradley will not open the year in the big leagues, even if Ortiz starts the year on the DL — while adding that he could become a big league consideration at a very early stage in 2013.)

“That discussion is yet to be had. Regardless of who would fill out the 25-man roster, you know what, I can’€™t sit here today and say that’€™s not an option that wouldn’€™t be discussed,” Farrell said of the possibility of having Bradley on the big league roster on April 1. “Keep in mind that we fully expect Jackie to begin the season in the minor leagues. So we’€™ll see ‘€“ we’€™ll work through the combinations that exist here in camp and, again, we haven’€™t ruled out David either.’€

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