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David Ortiz: ‘Opening Day seems like it’s not the case’

03.11.13 at 1:17 pm ET
By

David Ortiz (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who on Sunday was shut down for five to seven days due to inflammation in both of his heels (though primarily his right heel — in the region below but not directly related to the Achilles he injured last season), acknowledged that he is unlikely to be ready to play by April 1, when the Sox will start their season against the Yankees in New York. Given that there will be just two weeks remaining in spring training by the time he can resume his attempts at baseball activity (such as hitting and running) — and that he won’t yet be ready to take part in spring training games at that point — the realities of the timing of his injury are becoming increasingly obvious.

“Everybody wants to be there for Opening Day, but it is what it is. … Opening Day was my goal. You guys heard me talking about it when I first got here. I was feeling good and pushing things the way I was being told,” said Ortiz. “Right now, Opening Day seems like it’s not the case. The case is get me healthy for five or five and a half good months. That’s what we’re looking for now.”

Though dismayed by the setback, Ortiz noted there was some reassurance in that the soreness he’s experiencing is not related to his Achilles.

[AUDIO: David Ortiz talks Monday about his current situation.]

“I was getting pain four or five hours after I was finished with my workout and I know something wasn’t right. We had that communication between me and the doctors, the trainers. They agree with getting an MRI just to see what was going on. It’s not anything crazy, thanks God. But it’s going to take a couple of weeks to get fixed,” said Ortiz. I know it wasn’t the Achilles. We have an MRI in December and my Achilles looked pretty good. We have an MRI right now and my Achilles is not the issue. It’s just inflammation right behind it. Going to work on that now.”

Ortiz did not require a pain-killing injection. Instead, he’s taking anti-inflammatories for his heels. He described his lengthy inactivity since his injury last year as requiring the equivalent of “starting all over,” further underscoring why it will take him a while before he’s ready to play.

“Once I start hitting, I know the things I need to approach to be right at the plate. I haven’t played in a while, so that’s why you approach different things and try to work on things more consistently,” said Ortiz. “Definitely when somebody hasn’t played for as long as I’ve been out, you definitely want to play before you go back in action. But you definitely need to be healthy before you do any of that. That’s what we’re looking for now.”

Ortiz said that the inflammation was a byproduct of the fact that he had been “compensating” for injury in his running work. Though he suffered a setback now, he remained optimistic that he will reach a point this year where he will play pain-free.

“That’s something that they are expecting. I’m expecting it,” he said. “I want to play where I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I have to focus on doing what I have to do on the baseball field.”

Eventually, that seems likely to happen. But for now, Ortiz is navigating the frustrations of his inability to be at the point where he’d hoped to be, and as that reality has become increasingly apparent over the course of the spring, it has left the usually ebullient Ortiz somewhat quieted by his disappointment.

“Nobody wants to be injured. Me, I was going 120 percent this offseason working with this injury and the good news is it had nothing to do with my Achilles like it used to. That made me happy at least, knowing that my Achilles is doing fine,” said Ortiz. “[But being injured] is not a good feeling. I’ve been working really hard this offseason just to make sure I’m good to go for the season. It’s happened. It’s not me being me. I know you guys have noticed that. like I said, it is what it is and things happen for a reason, right? The one thing that we’re really working on is that when I’m back, I’m back. It’s not just coming back for a couple of weeks and then going back and doing the same thing. They’re trying to fix the whole thing. That way when I get back in the lineup, it’s going to be there, and be there for the season.”

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