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David Ortiz: Despite strong start, ‘I don’t feel comfortable yet’

04.21.13 at 6:17 pm ET
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Despite going 5-for-8 in his first two games and driving in two runs, contributing more to the Red Sox offense than any other player in the first half of Sunday’s doubleheader with the Royals, David Ortiz said he doesn’t feel comfortable at the plate yet.

“I’m battling right now,” Ortiz, who went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the afternoon game against the Royals, said. “I wasn’t facing pitching for eight months, and I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t feel comfortable yet. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been hitting where nobody’s at, but I don’t feel yet the way I like to feel, you know what I’m saying?”

Four of Ortiz’s five hits have been singles, a fact that prompted him to call himself “David Ichiro Ortiz” on Sunday. On his one extra-base hit, a sixth-inning double, he slid into second just in time to beat the throw from right field, the first real test of his running ability since his return from an Achilles tendon injury.

Ortiz also made it from second to third on a sacrifice fly to right field, but said he’s had some soreness in his left heel recently after focusing on rehabbing his right Achilles.

“My injury’s fine right now, but I can tell you I’m having some issues with the other side, just from not being able to do what I normally do on [the right] side,” Ortiz said. “But it’s not anything bad. It’s not anything crazy. I think I can deal with it, and I think it will get better. That’s what the doctor said – it will get better. It’s nothing that had to do with my Achilles. I’m not concerned about it.”

Sox manager John Farrell said he thought Ortiz ran the bases and swung the bat without any major issues in Sunday’s first game, a 4-2 Royals win.

“He’€™s unrestricted as far as home to second on a double,” Farrell said. “He tags up on a fly ball deep to right field. He swung the bat obviously with very good timing considering the few at-bats he’€™s had on rehab. But certainly a huge addition to our lineup.”

Ortiz will sit out the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, although he said he’ll likely be available as a pinch-hitter. He emphasized the fact that while he also worked on his approach in six rehab games in Triple-A Pawtucket, it will take more than a handful of starts for him to feel fully comfortable.

“I only have played a few games,” Ortiz said. “I’ve played [six] games in Triple-A, where they were pitching me like they normally pitched me, but I was just trying to hit the ball and grind just to see how it would feel. But I was chasing bad pitches, doing all kinds of stuff, trying to get in the count to see if I could hit the ball and do some running. And I ran, a couple of times, and it feels good, but I’m not quite there yet. I was out for too long.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Ichiro Suzuki,
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